Team India clinched the five-match T20I series 4-1 with a thrilling 6-wicket victory in the final match in Bengaluru on Sunday, December 3. A bilateral series victory can never make up for a World Cup final defeat, but India will be proud of their juniors' performance. At one stage, the visitors had the upper hand but an incredible bowling display in the second innings pulled things back for the Men in Blue.
This encounter certainly disproved the perception of many that Chinnaswamy is the flattest track. Many were expecting a batting belter but the surface offered something for the bowlers tonight. However, India managed to post a respectable total of 160 on a slow tricky pitch after being asked to bat first. Shreyas Iyer's last-overs blast provided a perfect end to India's innings.
Earlier, Yashasvi Jaiswal (21 off 15) gave another cracking start but fell to a short of length delivery while trying to pull. The very next over Ruturaj Gaikwad also departed. The Men in Blue had high hopes for their skipper Suryakumar Yadav and Rinku Singh. But both had a bad day at the office as they were dismissed for single-digit scores.
Things looked bleak for India but Iyer and Jitesh Sharma held on for a while before Axar Patel (31 off 21) came out and played a brilliant knock. Iyer did not take any risks against the spinners and instead played a sensible innings. However, he opened fire towards the end, which helped India score 45 runs in the last four overs.
Axar Patel wins Player of the Match for his all-round excellence
Chasing 161, Australia got off to a flying start despite losing Josh Philippe cheaply early on. World Cup final hero Travis Head and Ben McDermott attacked the Indian bowlers to put up a strong score on the board in the first powerplay. Ravi Bishnoi conceded a six off his fourth ball but got his revenge off his very next ball as he removed the dangerous Head in the fifth over.
With McDermott and Tim David doing well in the middle, Australia were 70/3 and they managed to score 21 runs off the following two overs. However, Axar Patel's timely strike broke the 47-run stand and helped the left-arm spinner to finish with the figures of 4-0-14-1. Notably, he won the Player of the Match for the second consecutive game in this series. McDermott brought up a brilliant fifty but fell to a low full toss in no time.
Then it was the turn of the pace bowlers and Mukesh Kumar started the proceedings with a double strike in the 17th over. Matthew Wade kept his team in the hunt, but Kumar's decent penultimate over and Arshdeep's incredible last over did the magic for India. With 10 runs needed off 6 balls, the left-arm pacer took the massive wicket of Wade and gave away just 3 runs to seal the match.
Here's how fans reacted to India's series win over Australia:
Congratulations India...!!! 🇮🇳❤️— The Khel India (@TheKhelIndia) December 3, 2023
Rinku Singh & Ravi Bishnoi were the most consistent for India 🙌 pic.twitter.com/lm7AHpP3Gy
Mukesh Bowled Exceptionally too,pen ultimate over it was .— Balaji Iyengar (@imbalaji007) December 3, 2023
Umpire was 12th player for india today— भाई साहब (@Bhai_saheb) December 3, 2023
What a brilliant last over by Arshdeep Singh 🔥 🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/OJRbiACbAF— umair khan (@ksz399) December 3, 2023
ARSHDEEP LAST OVER 🔥— Shivaye 🔱 (@shivaye01) December 3, 2023
INDIA won this SERIES 4-1 !! 🔥🔥
Congratulations to the win but we are still hurting from that final loss. These bilateral are useless until we start winning official tournaments— Waѕiyullah Budye (@WasiyullahB) December 3, 2023
Best team in the world but unlucky 💔— Omar. (@OmarBalochh) December 3, 2023
What an overwhelming performance by India throughout the series.— Cricket Chronicle 🏏🏏 (@cricchronicle1) December 3, 2023