2nd T20I: Kohli, spinners inspire India to maiden series triumph Down Under
India recorded their first ever bilateral series triumph on Australian soil as they clinched the Twenty20 rubber by taking an unassailable 2-0 lead with a comprehensive 27-run victory in the second match, riding on an all-round show
Melbourne: Mahendra Singh Dhoni whipped of the bails, hopped, skipped, smirked, then jumped across the width of the pitch and let out a huge smile as he congratulated Yuvraj Singh after India beat Australia by 27 runs to win their first bilateral series Down Under. Yuvraj did not get a chance to bat in the series, but his wily left-arm spin yesterday dismissed big-hitter Glenn Maxwell, as India took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.
Virat Kohli hits one through the on side during the second Twenty20 international match between Australia and India at the MCG in Melbourne on Friday. Pic/AFP
For Dhoni, his batsmen layed the perfect platform and spinners had the opposition in tangle. The top order consistently got some big runs while the bowlers restricted the hosts. It's a sure-shot recipe for success as India prepare for the forthcoming World T20 in their own back yard.
At the Melbourne Cricket Ground yesterday, Australia kept India in check for the first three overs, conceding only 12 runs. But the manner in which India batted thereafter would have pleased their coaches and admirers alike.
Openers Rohit Sharma (60) and Shikar Dhawan's (42) ability to hit the ball even when the Aussies would have felt it was impossible for them to do so, was the feature of their 97-run partnership. In the fifth over, Rohit saw fine leg was inside the circle and cleverly scooped James Faulkner over the short fine fielder for four. It resulted in fine leg being dropped back and third man being brought up. Next ball, Rohit glides it to the third man boundary. It was a masterful knock.
Virat Kohli of India (C-top) celebrates after taking the wicket of Glenn Maxwell of Australia by jumping on his teammates during the second Twenty20 international match between Australia and India at the MCG in Melbourne on Friday. Pic/AFP
From the other end, Dhawan was equally crafty. After the field restrictions were over, he danced down the track and whacked Faulkner over mid-off (the only fielder was inside the ring). A couple of balls later mid-off was dropped back and third man brought up. This time Dhawan gave himself room and executed the upper cut over short third man's head for four. Next over, Rohit surveyed the field one again, and knowing Andrew Tye's reputation of bowling full, lifted the ball over mid-off.
In a blink of an eye, India had scored 65 runs off the next five overs. The platform was set once again, it was time for Virat Kohli (59 not out) to cash in. During the innings break, Kohli told Channel 9: "For every pitch, you need to judge where your hitting areas are, and for me today with the full length, I thought through the covers was my scoring area. That is the beautiful thing about this team, while I like to play through the extra cover region, someone like Rohit can play the same balls behind covers by opening the face of the bat."
In the last two matches, Australia have realised how difficult it can be to bowl to the Indian batsmen. Not only do they have all the strokes but can think and execute their way out of tough situations too.
All of a sudden, things are gelling perfectly for mahendra Singh Dhoni & Co at the end of the tour. A seaming all-rounder has been unearthed, a bowler who can bowl yorkers at the death has been discovered and finally, Dhoni has started to smack his sixes again. Most importantly, India seem to have worked out a winning formula leading into the World T20.