Youngsters Cameron Green (52) and Tim David (54), who had come into the series with big reputations, struck half-centuries as Australia recovered from a mid-innings slump to post 186/7 against India in the series-deciding third and final T20I at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium here on Sunday.
Australia got off to a blazing start and ended in whirlwind fashion but the Indians did well in the middle overs to peg them back.
Green (52 off 21 balls) gave the innings the early momentum as he blasted the third fastest fifty for Australia in T20 cricket, racing to his half-century off 19 deliveries while David, the big-hitter who started his career with Singapore before moving to Australia, gave the innings the much-needed push towards the end as Australia recovered from 117/6 in 14th over to post a respectable total.
Tim David (54, 27 balls, 4×2, 4×6) and Daniel Sams raised 68 runs for the seventh wicket off 34 balls as Australia went for the leather in the final four overs, hitting 21 runs off the 18th over by Bhuvneshwar Kumar and 18 off the 19th bowled by Jasprit Bumrah. But Harshal Patel bowled a superb final over, conceding only 7 runs and sent back the dangerous David as Australia ended with 187/7 in their 20 overs. Daniel Sams remained unbeaten on 28 runs.
Green gave Australia a good start as he blasted Bhuvneshwar Kumar for a six — off an overpitched delivery at his pads — and a four from successive balls in the first over as he opened the innings for the third successive match in the series.
The 23-year-old from Western Australia blazed to a 19-ball half-century, hitting seven boundaries and three sixes as Australia scored 66/1 in the powerplay.
After blasting 12 runs off Bhuvneshwar’s first over, Green struck left-arm spinner Axar Patel for two fours in his first over, the second off the innings. The third over of the innings proved even costlier for India as Cameron struck back-to-back sixes off Bumrah and a four as he accumulated 17 runs.
In the fourth over of the innings, Cameron hammered a hat-trick of fours off Axar Patel — the first one hit flat and hard to the mid-wicket boundary, the second a cut through square off a short one on middle and off, and the third swatted over mid-on as Axar fired in a short quick one.
Axar Patel provided India the much breakthrough, enticing skipper Aaron Finch to mis-hit a slow one outside off — Australia 44/1 in fourth over. The visitors reached 50 off 23 balls with Cameron Green going great guns.
However, Green was out soon after completing his half-century as he reached out for a delivery from Bhuvneshwar Kumar and could not control it as K.L Rahul pouched a skier.
Australia lost their way after the Powerplay as they lost Steve Smith (9) and Glenn Maxwell (6) cheaply, the latter was run out as Axar Patel caught him short with a direct hit. From 66/2 at the end of the Powerplay, Australia were 86/4 at the end of 10 overs.
Josh Inglish and Tim David took them past 100 but Australia again lost two more quick wickets. Axar struck off the first delivery of his second spell (his 3rd over) as Inglis sliced it to Rohit Sharma after the bowler followed him towards the leg-side, camping him for space.
Axar was at it again in the same over as Matthew Wade, for once, got out cheaply in this series, as the bowler angled one at the off-stump and the ball holds up, denying the Australian wicketkeeper the chance to check his shot, spooning it to Axar.
Just when it looked like the Australian innings will fall apart, Tim David and Daniel Sams came together to help them reach a good total.
Axar was the best Indian bowler on the pitch as he claimed 3/33 off his four overs. Though he was manhandled by Green, Axar made a great comeback to peg the Aussies back in the middle overs.