Virat Kohli got into his groove on the Australia tour with a match-winning 61, helping India win the third T20 International by six wickets and draw the three-match series 1-1 in Sydney on Sunday.
Kohli’s measured 41-ball knock and his 60-run unbeaten stand with Dinesh Karthik (22 not out off 18) gave India the much-needed (and deserved) series-levelling win ahead of the highly anticipated Test series beginning December 6 at Adelaide.
The captain’s perfectly executed chase in 19.4 overs came after Shikhar Dhawan (41 off 22 balls) and Rohit Sharma (23 off 16 balls) provided a flying start to the innings. Chasing 165, Dhawan and Sharma put on 50 runs off just 28 balls. Both batsmen took the aerial route with aplomb and hit seven fours and four sixes between them to leave the Australian bowlers clueless. Overall, India scored 67-1 in the powerplay overs.
That start, Australia captain Aaron Finch said later, ultimately proved to be the difference between the two sides.
Earlier, Krunal Pandya took career-best figures of 4-36 as Australia were restricted to 164-6 in 20 overs.
Australia won the opening T20 by four runs while the second game was a washout, putting additional pressure on India who came here at the back of winning six T20 series in a row.
The unbeaten innings from Kohli meant his incredible chasing record in T20Is continued — every time he’s been not out in a run-chase in T20Is, India have won the match.
And it’s not just Kohli, Karthik is fast earning a reputation as one of the most clinical finishers in the shortest format.
Earlier, there was redemption for Pandya as well after a poor start to the series. He was eventually declared man of the match.
While it was not a series win for India, they continued to maintain their impressive record in bilateral T20I series.