Virat Kohli's scintillating strokeplay found its match in maverick Suryakumar Yadav's batting pyrotechnics as the duo fashioned India's series-clinching six-wicket win over Australia in the third and final T20 International in Hyderabad on Sunday.
Kohli (63 off 48 balls) and Suryakumar (69 off 36 balls) shared a 104-run partnership to lay the platform for the Indian victory. India won the three-match series 2-1.
With the pitch offering grip and turn, Axar Patel(3/33) picked three wickets, while also executing a sensational run out. Yuzvendra Chahal (1/22) was also in his element, bowling an economical spell.
Chasing 187, India didn’t have the best of starts as openers KL Rahul (1) and Rohit Sharma (17) were out inside the first four overs.
But Kohli and Suryakumar batted with authority, hitting boundaries and sixes at regular intervals to keep the required run rate in check as Australian bowlers struggled to find answers.
While Suryakumar orchestrated the carnage, Kohli played the second fiddle.
At the halfway mark India needed 96 with eight wickets in hand.
Suryakumar soon brought his fifty as the duo plundered 15 off Adam Zampa’s 13th over.
Australia fashioned a comeback, ending Suryakumar’s outstanding innings with India needing 53 off the last six overs.
Kohli, however, continued to go about his business, whacking Pat Cummins for a six in the very next over. He brought his first fifty of the series in 36 balls.
Australia bowled some tight overs to keep themselves in the hunt.
But Hardik (25 not out) and Kohli slammed a couple of sixes but the latter was out leaving India in need of five runs from four balls.
Earlier, Green was on the offensive from the start. He smashed the second delivery to square leg for a massive six, which was followed by a boundary as Australia collected 12 off the first over after being asked to bat.
Green continued the onslaught, smashing Jasprit Bumrah (0/50) for a four before hitting back-to-back sixes, including one that went to the second tier much to the dismay of the partisan crowd.
With Australia going over 13 runs per over, Axar provided the home side with the first breakthrough as he bowled a slower one, forcing Aaron Finch (7) to mistime the shot with Hardik collecting the ball at mid-on.
Green brought his 50 in 19 balls in the fifth over, his innings studded with seven fours and three sixes. But the opener was soon sent packing by Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1/39), who bowled slightly wide only for the Australian to slash the ball to KL Rahul.
Australia plundered 66 runs for the loss off two wickets from the Powerplay.
But Glenn Maxwell's (6) woeful run continued as Axar executed a brilliant run out with a direct hit from the boundary.
There was some doubt whether it was a run-out as wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik's glove had knocked out one bail but in the end the decision went in India's favour.
Just before the halfway mark Karthik stumped Smith (8) who was deceived by Chahal's wrong 'un as the Australian innings seemed to fall apart.
But Josh Inglis (24) and David steadied the Australian innings as the visitors made a comeback.
Skipper Rohit Sharma introduced Harshal Patel (1/18) in the 13th over but his struggles continued. The medium pacer was first hit for six, which was followed by a no-ball and a wide.
Rohit then brought Axar back into the attack and the left-armer immediately repaid the skipper's faith by getting rid off Inglis and danger-man Matthew Wade.
The strapping David slammed two consecutive sixes and a four off Bhuvneshwar, who missed his length in the 18th over.
Sloppy fielding from India towards the end only added to Australia's total.