Mukesh, Arshdeep nail death overs after Shreyas sets it up as India clinch series 4-1

Bengaluru:¬†Shreyas Iyer’s refined fifty combined well with fine death overs performance by inexperienced pace duo of Arshdeep Singh and Mukesh Kumar as India pipped Australia by six runs in a thrilling encounter to record a comprehensive 4-1 series win.

Iyer’s 53 off 37 balls was the force behind India’s 160 for 8 on a tacky pitch at the Chinnaswamy Stadium.

Ben McDermott’s bellicose half-century (54, 36b, 5×6) nearly trumped Iyer’s effort, but the Aussies crumbled in the final lap to end up with 154 for eight.

Needing only 10 off last over, Arshdeep held his nerve and gave away only three runs, repeatedly hitting the ideal block-hole length with consummate ease.

No praise is enough for Mukesh (3/32), who bowled a game-changing 17th over, where effected back-to-back dismissals and gave away only five runs when the target was a gettable 37 runs in 24 balls with five wickets in hand. The batting was not an easy proposition on a rather unusually spongy pitch here, but McDermott used his raw power to take on Indian bowlers, who at times strayed with their line and length.

Axar Patel (1/14 in 4 overs) was once again brilliant with liberal help from a tacky track where he would value his 31 off 21 balls way more in terms of challenging conditions. Ravi Bishnoi (2/29 in 4 overs) was equally effective as 3/43 off 8 overs also was one of the big reasons for the victory. Among Aussie batters, McDermott was only happy to exploit the opportunities presented to him, and the right-hander’s carve over square leg for a six off left-arm pacer Arshdeep was quite noteworthy during his innings.

The 28-year-old also brought up his fifty, second in T20Is, in grand style lifting the same bowler for a maximum straight over the sight screen, and then celebrated the mark with a square cut off the very next ball that sped to the fence. Mcdermott, son of former Australian pacer Craig, realised 47 runs for the fourth wicket with Tim David, who made a run-a-ball 17 as he struggled to unfurl his big shots on a slow surface.

However, Arshdeep had the last laugh on the night as he had McDermott caught near mid-off by Rinku Singh. David was soon gobbled up by left-arm spinner and man-of-the-match Axar. But the Indian bowlers, particularly leg-spinner and ‘Player of the Series’ Ravi Bishnoi, had caught the Australian batters in tangles in the early phase of their chase.

Opener Travis Head went off the blocks like a train making 28 off 18 balls that contained five fours and a six. However, Bishnoi had his measure with a delivery that hissed past his prodding bat off the pitch like a cobra, and he later added the wicket of Aaron Hardie to the final column.

McDemott gave them some tense moments but the Indians kept their nerves to defend 10 runs off the last over, and the Aussie batters also played a couple of mindless shots to hasten the fall. Earlier, India fought through a well-tuned fifty by Iyer but the Australian bowlers exploited a tacky pitch to the hilt to restrict the hosts to a modest total.

From the outset, it was clear that the Chinnaswamy Stadium pitch was not the familiar shirtfront where batters can make merry. But Iyer showed the way, mixing well-judged singles and twos with those occasional big hits to the fence.

His pick-up shot off left-arm pacer Ben Dwarshuis over mid-off for a six was really astonishing but other batsmen could not emulate him except Axar with whom he milked 46 valuable runs for the sixth wicket. Iyer completed his fifty off 36 balls with a massive six over mid-wicket off pacer Nathan Ellis to give some energy to the crowd.

However, it was not really sufficient to nullify Australia’s excellent outing with the ball. The Aussie pacers read the pitch’s nature quite well and took the pace off the ball immediately. Yashasvi Jaiswal was their first scalp.

The Indian opener made a customary bright beginning slamming pacers Jason Behrendorff and Aaron Hardie for a six each. But left-arm pacer Behrendorff made a ball to climb on to the body of Jaiswal from the length and the lack of space to free hands robbed his pull of timing as Ellis completed a fine running catch near square leg.

The in-form Ruturaj Gaikwad’s effort to clear the ring off Dwarshuis ended in the hands of Behrendorff as India lost their openers within the Power Play segment itself. It appeared the night of Suryakumar Yadav once a sideways flying McDermott could not hold onto his uppish square cut off Dwarshuis. The Indian captain was on naught then.

However, that wasn’t so. Suryakumar fell to Dwarshuis as his attempt for another square cut off the pacer was snaffled by McDermott at point. The in-flow Rinku could not negate the weary surface. The left-hander had to drag the shot from outside the off-stump off leg-spinner Tanveer Sangha and David at long-on had little trouble in completing the catch.

Jitesh Sharma (24 off 16 balls) helped Shreyas to raise 42 runs for the fifth wicket as India reached a total that they defended with tigerish zeal.