NEW DELHI: India, led by Virat Kohli, will look to complete the whitewash in the T20I series against Australia when they take the field at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Tuesday for the third and final game of the series.
This is an opportunity for Team India to complete a second T20I series whitewash over Australia in Australia after the 3-0 result M.S. Dhoni’s boys got back in early 2016 when they toured the country only for two limited-overs series.
The Men in Blue have won the first two T20Is of the ongoing three-match series, and now the side would look to remain unbeaten in the shortest format.
Virat Kohli’s side has ticked all the boxes in the ongoing series. While the first match was won after batting first, the second win came when Kohli and his boys opted to chase.
“Before the (Sunday) game we said we will look to ride the atmosphere and the support we are going to get from the fans. That energy pushes you through in the tough moments. (Sometimes) You don’t feel pushing too much and then you hear the crowds and people backing you, and you push yourself,” said skipper Virat Kohli after Sunday’s game that ensured India have not lost a T20I series Down Under.
“The next game is going to be more exciting. We won the series but we still want to be professional and we are going to come out and be fearless,” he added.
In the first match, India defended a below-par score of 161, while in the second, the side chased down a massive score of 195, owing to Hardik Pandya’s heroics.
Pandya has been one of the shining lights of this tour so far, as he has come into his own, and India may very well now have a finisher who can do the job more often than not. Then of course there’s T. Natarajan, who is playing an international series for the first time, has been a major spark as he has bowled in the right areas with both the old and new ball.
In the second T20I, all Indian bowlers leaked runs, but it was Natarajan who finished with the spell of 2-20, and this restricted Australia to under the 200-run mark. Man of the Match Hardik Pandya also admitted that he thought Natarajan would be awarded the ‘Man of the Match’.
If one talks about Australia, the hosts are without the services of David Warner, Pat Cummins, and Mitchell Starc. Aaron Finch had missed the second T20I, and it is not known whether the white-ball skipper will play the final T20I.
Marcus Stoinis made his comeback, but he did not bowl a single delivery and this cost Australia. The bowling attack of the hosts looks considerably weakened and the performance of Andrew Tye, Daniel Sams, and Sean Abbott has left a lot to be desired.
Interestingly, India had lost just a one-off T20I game back in 2008 and since then they have either drawn a T20I series or won it.
Tuesday’s game could also mark the final match on Australia tour for Hardik Pandya, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer, Sanju Samson, Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar, T. Natarajan, Manish Pandey and Yuzvendra Chahal.
With agency inputs