Serene Kohli half-century ensures drawn series

By Sports Desk November 25, 2018

Virat Kohli secured India a drawn Twenty20 series against Australia with an effortless and unbeaten half-century at the SCG on Sunday.

Krunal Pandya took 4-36 in an excellent display with the ball to restrict Australia to 164-6.

That innings did not feature a single six but clearing the rope was no problem for India, who unsurprisingly relied on Kohli to get them home after an initially strong reply was somewhat curtailed.

Kohli hit a quartet of fours and a pair of sixes in his 41-ball 61, his 19th half-century in T20 internationals and his fifth against Australia. With the series drawn 1-1, Kohli will turn his attention to leading India to victory in a four-match Test series, which starts on December 6.

A destructive opening partnership between D'Arcy Short (33) and captain Aaron Finch (28) appeared on the cards as they combined for 68. However, they were each dismissed while trying the sweep in the space of five balls, Finch falling to Kuldeep Yadav before Short was trapped lbw by Krunal, who then removed Ben McDermott for a golden duck.

Glenn Maxwell was unable to live up to his moniker and produce a big show as he went for just 13 to Krunal, whose fourth wicket came when Alex Carey's promising 19-ball cameo was ended on 27 as he picked out Kohli at midwicket.

A direct-hit run out from Jasprit Bumrah ended any threat from Chris Lynn (13), but the tail wagged to ensure Australia would have something respectable to defend, the final two overs going for 27 runs.

India's response followed a markedly similar pattern as Rohit Sharma (23) and Shikhar Dhawan (41) put on 67 before falling in short order.

Kohli predictably steadied the ship, yet when KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant were dismissed in successive deliveries Australia could afford to have hope of wrapping up the series.

Yet that hope was taken away as Kohli moved through the gears, the turning point coming as he struck Andrew Tye for a four and then a six in consecutive balls in the 16th over.

Maxwell was the victim of similar bludgeoning as Kohli advanced down the track to launch a maximum over deep midwicket and when Dinesh Karthik ballooned Tye into the second tier the writing was on the wall.

India needed just five off the final over and, despite some smart death bowling from Tye, Kohli delighted the huge and rapturous Indian crowd by clinching a drawn series with successive boundaries off the third and fourth deliveries.

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