Dhaka, Bangladesh
Kohli, Krunal star as India level series

Kohli, Krunal star as India level series

In a game that had its fair share of twists and turns, Virat Kohli (61*) showcased his class and pedigree to chart India to a six-wicket win at the SCG as the visitors levelled the three-match T20I rubber at 1-1. The tourists chased down the target of 165 in 19.4 overs, reports Cricbuzz. At 113 for 4 after 15 overs, the game was in balance. At that crucial stage, Kohli led from the front to lift the tourists. He carved Andrew Tye through backward point and then picked the length early, to skip down the track and loft the pacer into the downtown territories. In the very next over bowled by Glenn Maxwell, he wristed the off spinner over midwicket to ease the pressure even further. The middle-order batsman soon reached his fifty by pinching a single off Tye. Dinesh Karthik, his batting partner, joined in the act by pulling Tye into the stands. In an attempt to break the partnership, Aaron Finch reintroduced Mitchell Starc into the attack but by then the experienced pair had put India in the ascendancy. In the final over, Tye gave Australia a glimmer of hope with a couple of dots. However, the Indian captain finished the match in style with two boundaries. It was a controlled innings from the Indian captain as he played himself in before going for the big shots. With long boundaries coming into play at the SCG, Kohli displayed his remarkable fitness by stealing quick singles and twos. Earlier, India were off to a rollicking start with Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan sharing a 33-ball 67- run stand for the opening wicket. The duo took a heavy toll off Tye and Nathan-Coulter Nile by collecting 42 runs in just two overs. Just when the pair looked set to take the game away from the home side’s grasp, Starc struck against the run of play by prising out Dhawan. Initially, the on-field umpire turned down the loud appeal for LBW only for Starc to force Finch, the captain, to place his belief in the review. The ball-tracker suggested that the very full delivery was going to crash into the leg stump and the decision was reversed. Adam Zampa followed it up by castling Rohit and dismissing KL Rahul. India were dented further as Rishabh Pant couldn’t open his account. Those quick strikes gave Australia a window of opportunity of scripting a memorable win, but it wasn’t to be. For Australia, D’Arcy Short (33) and Finch (28) provided a decent platform with the first wicket partnership of 68. Unfortunately, the hosts couldn’t take advantage of the solid foundation as Krunal Pandya ran through the batting unit to snare four wickets. The left-arm spinner mainly targeted the stumps and varied his pace to dismiss Short and Ben McDermott leg-before. He also snared the crucial scalps of Finch and Maxwell. Kuldeep Yadav, his spin colleague, also bowled a tidy spell to return noteworthy figures of 1 for 19. With Australia in a spot of bother at 131 for 6, Marcus Stoinis (25*) and Coulter-Nile (13*) shared a timely unbeaten stand of 33 to push the hosts to a score of some respectability. It took a while for Krunal Pandya to convince himself of his abilities after he conceded 55 runs off his four overs in the opening T20I in Brisbane, which Australia ended up winning by four runs. Having made his international debut in just the preceding series against the Windies, beginning his first overseas tour with an expensive outing wasn’t the kind of start he expected and he admitted that it wasn’t easy for him to put that out of his mind. But he did eventually get over it, coming up with an economical show in the rained out affair in the second game at the MCG where he finished with figures of 1 for 26 from his four overs. Building on that confidence, the left-armer bagged 4 for 36 in India’s series-levelling effort at the SCG to win his maiden Man of the Match award while also becoming the first spinner to pick up four wickets in a T20I in Australia. BRIEF SCORES: Australia 164/6 in 20 overs ( D’Arcy Short 33; Krunal Pandya 4-36) lost to India 168/4 in 19.4 overs (Virat Kohli 61*, Shikhar Dhawan 41; Adam Zampa 1-22) by six wickets.

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