Thanks to Axar Patel, Suryakumar Yadav and Virat Kohli, India toppled Australia in the third and final T20I to seal the series 2-1 in Hyderabad on Sunday (September 25), but the team management would be slightly worried about the way returning seamers Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel performed in the series. The former picked up only one wicket in two games and leaked runs at 12.16, while Harshal too got just one wicket in three matches and conceded runs at 12.37.
“Margin of error in T20s is small. We took our chances, we were brave as well. Sometimes it doesn't come off. There are areas to improve as well. Not easy coming back after a break against a tough team. They (Bumrah and Harshal) will take some time. Hopefully they can get back into their groove in the next series (against South Africa),” said Indian skipper Rohit Sharma.
Suryakumar, who was named player of the match, put on a 104-run partnership with Kohli after India lost their KL Rahul and Rohit inside four overs. Suryakumar (36-ball 69) was at his brutal best, while Kohli played the second fiddle to perfection. The latter crafted 63 off 48 deliveries and took the attack to Australia's frontline spinner Adam Zampa. Suryakumar perished in the 14th over but Kohli only left the field after smacking Daniel Sams for a maximum on the first delivery of the final over. That six got the equation down to five off five and that's when Hardik Pandya finished the job with a boundary.
"That's why I'm batting at 3, I have to utilise my experience and give the team what the team wants. I got off to a good start then I had to take down Zampa because he's an important bowler through the middle. I kind of made up my mind to go after him today. He's a quality bowler and he tries to control my scoring rate whenever we play and I knew that he was going to attack the stumps, so I was standing outside leg already. Last game I was a bit disappointed that after hitting him for a four, I went for a double rather than hitting him for a six.
"I'm making a conscious effort to strike those big ones through the middle overs so that it can help the team situation. The game shouldn't have gone on that long, we should have probably had 4 or 5 to chase in the final over. It was important to maintain my composure and get one boundary (on that first-ball six in the 20th over). I'm happy with my contribution to the team, I took a break, went back to the nets, worked hard on my fitness and think it's coming off well. I want to keep contributing and doing my best for the team."
Talking about Suryakumar, Kohli said: "When Surya started hitting it like that, I kinda looked at the dug-out as well. Rohit and Rahul bhai both told me, 'you can just keep batting on' because Surya was striking it that well. It was just about building a partnership. I just used my experience a little bit. SKY has absolute clarity in what he wants to do. He has the game to bat under any sort of situation and any condition. He has shown that already. He got a hundred in England, he batted beautifully in the Asia Cup. Here, he's striking the ball as well as I have seen him strike. For the past 6 months, he's been outstanding. It's the array of shots and to play those shots at the right time is such a tremendous skill. He's a guy who knows his game inside out. He's got the gift of timing and I was in awe watching him play his shots."
Cameron Green is not part of Australia's T20 World Cup squad but the all-rounder made quite an impression in this series. Opening for the first time in his career, the big man emerged as the highest run-getter of the series, slamming 118 runs at an average of 39.33 and a strike rate of 214.55. In the third T20I, Green smashed 52 off 21 deliveries and propelled Australia to 62 by the end of five overs. Once he perished, the visitors slowed down and scored 66 in the middle overs (7-15).
"Really happy with a young player like Green having such an impact. We had to get wickets, can't beat India by containing. At times we were sloppy with bat and ball, but playing a tight series like this against a World Class side is going to keep the guys in good stead. I loved the way he took the game on with his ultra-aggressive approach," said Australian skipper Aaron Finch.