Chase master Kohli to the fore and other takeaways as India level T20 series

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Kohli leads India to victory in another chase.

India stormed to a six-wicket win over Australia in the deciding clash at Sydney on Sunday to level the T20 series 1-1.

Trailing 0-1 in the series, Virat Kohli and his men chased down the Aussie total of 164-6 with two balls to spare in the decider at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

After what was an engrossing T20 clash, we look at the key talking points.

KRUNAL PANDYA RISES TO THE OCCASION

India’s pace trio of Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Khaleel Ahmed were excellent in the abandoned second T20 but they were unable to repeat that showing on Sunday with Australia getting off to a great start with the bat.

Openers Aaron Finch and D’Arcy Short added 68 runs in just over eight overs as India’s fast-bowlers leaked runs aplenty in the powerplay. It was left to the India’s spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Krunal Pandya to pull things back. While the former provided the initial breakthrough by sending back Finch, it was the latter who turned the tide with four scalps.

Pandya dismissed Glenn Maxwell once again while also accounting for Short, Chris Lynn and Alex Carey who all fell while trying to sweep the left-arm spinner. While Pandya was slightly expensive, his wickets halted the Aussie momentum before a strong finish by the hosts.

A man-of-the-match display from Krunal Pandya.

A man-of-the-match display from Krunal Pandya.

AUSTRALIA SPINNERS TIE DOWN INDIA

In chase of 165, India’s openers Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma got off to an electric start with 62 runs coming in the first five overs. Twenty runs came off the fourth over of the innings while 22 came in the next bowled by Marcus Stoinis as Dhawan and Sharma made the boundary ropes at the SCG irrelevant.

Their stand was brought to an end by Mitchell Starc who outdid Dhawan with his blistering pace before Australia spinners Adam Zampa and Maxwell put a brake on India’s scoring rate.

Zampa was excellent, starting off his spell with a maiden over which included the big wicket of Sharma. He was on the mark throughout his four-over spell, conceding only 22 runs. He got excellent support from Maxwell whose part-time off-spin accounted for KL Rahul.

The pair conceded only 47 runs from their eight overs and helped the hosts claw back into the game after a rocking start by India’s openers.

Adam Zampa brought Australia back into the game.

Adam Zampa brought Australia back into the game.

KOHLI STEERS ANOTHER CHASE

It seemed inevitable. Despite all the good work by Australia’s spinners and Andrew Tye in the middle overs, the hosts were unable to claim the wicket of Kohli. If the visiting skipper stays unbeaten during a chase in a limited-overs chase, there can be only one result – an India win.

The 29-year-old looked determined to finish the chase the moment he walked out to the crease and he anchored the innings to perfection before stepping up a gear in the final overs.

He kept his cool as Zampa and Maxwell dried up the runs and chose his moments to attack in another well-crafted chase. Kohli found a trusted partner in Dinesh Karthik as he brought up his 19th T20I fifty and finished off the chase in style in the final over bowled by Tye.

It was the 14th instance of the right-hander remaining unbeaten in a T20I chase and he has now led India to victory in all 14 of them. It was also back-to-back T20I fifties at the SCG for Kohli who had led India to a last-ball victory in a chase of 198 at the venue two years ago.

Another perfect finishing job from the chase master.

Another perfect finishing job from the chase master.

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