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by Manuj Sharma Sunday 31 January 2016
India 200-3 (Sharma 52) beatAustralia 197-5 (Watson 124no) by seven wicketsThird Twent20 International in SydneyScorecard
Suresh Raina scored an unbeaten 49 off just 25 deliveries to ensure a last ball victory for India chasing 198 against Australia in the third Twenty20 International in Sydney as MS Dhoni's men completed a 3-0 series whitewash despite a brilliant century from Shane Watson which went in vain.
Australia won the toss and elected to bat with five changes to their team. Watson captained the team in the absence of the injured Aaron Finch while India went with an unchanged team.
After a quiet first over from Ashish Nehra (1-32), Usman Khawaja (14) went after Jasprit Bumrah (1-43) scoring 14 runs in the second over.
Just when Khawaja was looking dangerous, he feathered an edge to Dhoni behind the stumps in the second over from Nehra.
Watson upped the ante by scoring five boundaries and a six in the next three overs to take Australia to 57 for one in the powerplay.
Ravichandran Ashwin (1-36) ended a scratchy innings from Shaun Marsh (9) and also the 53-run stand for the second wicket.
With spin taking the centre stage, Glenn Maxwell (3) gifted a wicket to Yuvraj Singh (1-19). Australia were 75 for three in the 10th over.
Travis Head (26) joined Watson as the pair added a decisive 93-run stand for the fourth wicket to take the game away from the Indians.
After starting the innings cautiously, Head plundered Singh for a six and a four in the 12th over while Watson reached his fifty off just 37 deliveries.
Virat Kohli handed Watson a reprieve when he shelled a catch at sweeper cover off Hardik Pandya (0-24) and an over later Dhoni missed a run out to give the Australian captain another life when he failed to collect a throw from Kohli cleanly.
Watson smashed 19 runs in the 17th over from Ravindra Jadeja (1-41) and brought up his century in the process taking 60 deliveries to reach the milestone despite losing Head. Australia were 168 for four at that stage.
Chris Lynn (13) and Watson managed 29 runs in the final three overs to ensure Australia ended their innings at 197 for five. Watson’s innings of 71 deliveries was also the longest in this format.
Except for Pandya, all the Indian bowlers managed a wicket apiece but were expensive.
Shikhar Dhawan (26) and Rohit Sharma (52) gave India an exploding start of 42 runs in the first three overs with Shaun Tait (0-46) conceding 31 runs in it off two overs.
However, Watson (1-30) introduced himself in the fourth over and straight away had Dhawan caught behind to give Cameron Bancroft his first international dismissal.
Virat Kohli (50) continued from where he left in the previous games as he punched one down the ground past mid off to score his first boundary.
With a 12-run sixth over, Kohli took India to 74 for one in the powerplay and also went past 5,000 runs in T20s.
Kohli and Sharma brought the 50-run stand off just 34 deliveries but a couple of good overs from Cameron Boyce (2-28) pushed the required run rate to 9.30.
At the halfway mark, India needed 96 runs at the rate of 9.60 per over. Sharma shifted gears as he struck a six off Maxwell (0-10) and followed it with a boundary of Scott Boland (0-34) to ease the pressure a bit.
Soon after reaching his half-century and crossing the 1000-run mark in T20Is, Sharma chipped a Boyce delivery to Watson at mid-wicket ending the 78-run stand with Kohli.
A couple of deliveries later Raina (49 not out) was handed a reprieve by Bancroft when he missed the stumping of Boyce but the left-hander responded brilliantly by smashing a six to deep mid wicket.
Just like Sharma, Kohli too departed on reaching his fifty castled by Boyce with India needing 51 runs from the last 30 deliveries.
Despite a struggling Singh (15 not out), Raina scored consistent boundaries to bring down the target to 22 off 12 deliveries. A brilliant 19th over from Watson turned the tide towards Australia as he conceded just five runs in it.
With 17 needed off the final over, Singh finally showed his class hitting a boundary and a six off the first two deliveries from Andrew Tye (0-51).
Raina finished the innings without further drama with eight runs in the last three deliveries to complete a seven-wicket victory for India. They have also completed a 3-0 whitewash over Australia in the series.
Watson was announced the man of the match despite ending on the losing side while Kohli bagged the man of the series award.
© Cricket World 2016