Australia vs India 2nd T20: Kohli, Sharma hand India unassailable 2-0 lead

Kohli struck seven boundaries and a six during his unbeaten knock of 59

Kohli struck seven boundaries and a six during his unbeaten knock of 59

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma both smashed half-centuries as India defeated Australia by 27 runs in Melbourne to claim an unassailable 2-0 series lead.

However, Australia captain Aaron Finch deserves a lot of credit as he hammered a gutsy 74 despite suffering a hamstring injury.

Finch would have been mulling over his decision to bowl first as Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan amassed a 97-run partnership before Dhawan was dismissed by Glenn Maxwell for 42.

Sharma went on to make 60 off 47 balls, which included five boundaries and two sixes, before he was run out by Maxwell.

Sharma's excellent form with the bat continued

Sharma’s excellent form with the bat continued

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

Kohli took over after Sharma’s dismissal and blasted an unbeaten 59 off 33 balls, which included seven boundaries and a six, to lead India to 184/3 off their 20 overs.

Maxwell and debutant Andrew Tye picked up one wicket apiece.

Chasing 185 to win, Australia got off to a superb start as Finch and Shaun Marsh put together a 94-run stand, during which Finch registered his half-century, before Marsh was caught by Hardik Pandya off the bowling of Ravichandran Ashwin for 23.

Once India got the breakthrough, Australia’s batting line-up began to topple and they lost wickets in a hurry, which included that of Finch, who scored 74 off 48 balls, which included eight boundaries and two sixes.

Finch scored a valiant 74

Finch scored a valiant 74

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

With all the other Australian batmen failing to have an impact, the Baggy Greens ended up falling short of their target as they finished on 157/8 off their 20 overs.

Ravindra Jadeja and Jasprit Bumrah took two wickets apiece, while Ashwin, Pandya and Yuvraj Singh claimed one wicket each.

Speaking on behalf of Finch, Shane Watson admitted his side were not up to par, and said: “It was a big target. We made a good start but lost our way. Their spinners are very very skilled. Even when it is not turning they are effective. They play a lot of T20 cricket. Aaron Finch has hurt his hamstring, the run-out made it worse. He is getting it assessed. Sunday is very important. At the moment we are testing out a few players, which makes it challenging, but it is also an opportunity for guys to put their hand up.”

India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni was thrilled to have taken a 2-0 lead in the series, and said: “It was fantastic. The support was very good. It has always been very good even when we are not playing well. That Jadeja catch was fantastic. That was a crucial part of the game. No wonder commentators keep saying catches win matches. Spinners did a great job, also Hardik’s over with that wicket was good. Bumrah has done well at death bowling. He has bowled yorkers. It is your choice if you want to bowl back of a length if the pitch is good, but if you are not bowling yorkers because you can’t bowl them, you will go for runs.”

Kohli was named Man of the Match, and said: “I love coming to Australia. There is good pace, there is good bounce, I love the challenge, and we get good Indian crowds as well. Nothing different from back home, I am very happy I could contribute at an important time. We sealed the series today. Shikhar took a bit of time getting into the one-day series, but he is showing how dangerous he is. And Rohit, once he gets going, there is no better sight. The way they went after the bowling, it can demoralise sides.”

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