India vs Australia: Marauding Maxwell powers Australia to series win
There was just one bad shot Glenn Maxwell played all evening. It was a full toss from Siddharth Kaul and the 30-year-old holed it to Vijay Shankar at long on. The crowd was on its feet only to be deflated on realizing that it was a free-hit for no ball and Maxwell was there to stay. Minutes later, they were up all over again but to applaud the sheer class Maxwell had demonstrated to reach his third T20I century.
India had scored 190/4, a commendable total, which could have been bigger had the batsmen not checked their shots and waited too long to open their arms. Besides, being a small ground India could have done well scoring a few more. Australia chased it down with two balls to spare, reaching 194/4. Quite like the first T20I in Visakhapatnam, this too went to the wire, but India never looked like reining in Maxwell.
Maxwell was named Man-of-the-Match and Player-of-the-Series, reward for the 2-0 series sweep.
With 14 required off the last two overs, Jasprit Bumrah once again was tasked with somehow keeping India in the fight, and even though he did, lack of bowling options meant Siddarth Kaul, who had conceded 18 runs in his previous over, would bowl the final over to a player who finished the day with 113 not out off just 55 deliveries. Maxwell wrapped up the match with six and four — shots that were the hallmark of his knock at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Wednesday.
When he swept Yuzvendra Chahal for six over fine leg in the 16th over, a bit of a movement near the sightscreen stopped play for a bit. Chahal bowled the next one wide of off-stump and Maxwell dispatched it with a reverse sweep over third man. He took on so much that all Peter Handscomb (20 off 18) had to do was hang around while Australia chased things down.
The start wasn’t bad for India though. KL Rahul started things well with a brilliant 26-ball 47 but the hosts lost their set openers in the space of 14 deliveries, and when young Rishabh Pant headed back following a brilliant catch in the 11th over, the scoreboard read 74/3. Given India had dropped a frontline bowler in leggie Mayank Markande for batting all-rounder Vijay Shankar — one of the three changes — the scoring rate wouldn’t have even made for a competitive total.
However, India finished at 190, including 91 off the last six overs.
Virat Kohli led the show, with an innings studded with six sixes and two boundaries; but more than the numbers, it was the manner in which he dismantled the bowling attack that had Australia on the back foot at the halfway stage. If Rahul’s knock had set the tone, Kohli only ensured it isn’t lost once again like in the first T20I.
Despite coming in to bat in the eighth over, Kohli waited until the 15th over — batting on 20 off 17 balls — to free his arms. And then, such was the carnage that barring Jhye Richardson, no Australian bowler was brought back a second time in the last six overs. Nathan Coulter-Nile, hero of the Australian attack in the first T20I, bore the brunt of Kohli’s exquisite shots — being hit for three consecutive sixes, over long-on, long-off and mid-wicket in the 16th over.
And the skipper received terrific assistance from MS Dhoni, who, if he decides to hang his boots at the end of the World Cup in July, may have already played his last game in the shortest format for the Indian team. And it was a typical knock from the veteran, pacing his innings well en route a 40 off 23 balls before falling in the last over. But Kohli and Dinesh Karthik picked 16 off the remaining five deliveries.