India clinch T20 series against Australia to ease Cricket World Cup pain

India beat Australia by 20 runs to take an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-match T20 cricket series.

India's Axar Patel celebrates the dismissal of Australia's Ben McDermott
India celebrate the dismissal of Australia's Ben McDermott [Mahesh Kumar A/AP Photo]

India have exacted a modicum of revenge for their loss to Australia in the final of the 50-overs Cricket World Cup by clinching the T20 series against them with a match to spare after a 20-run victory in Raipur.

Put into bat in the penultimate match of the series on Friday, India posted 174-9 with Rinku Singh (46) and Jitesh Sharma (35) shining although they could not make the most of the final overs.

When they returned to defend, Axar Patel (3-16) wrecked Australia’s top order, and the tourists eventually managed 154-7 to see India grab an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-match series.

Earlier, Yashasvi Jaiswal (37) and Ruturaj Gaikwad (32) combined in a breezy 50-run opening stand before the home side lost three quick wickets, including that of skipper Suryakumar Yadav.

Rinku and Jitesh shored up India, and at 129-4 after 15 overs, the home side looked poised for a late flourish that could take them near the 200-mark.

Australia, however, pulled things back in the final five overs, conceding only 45 runs and claiming five wickets.

Patel fell for a first ball duck, but the all-rounder decided to make amends with the ball when Australia began their chase.

The left-arm spinner dismissed opener Travis Head (31) and number four batter Aaron Hardie in his successive overs and went on to remove Ben McDermott in his final over to reduce Australia to 87-4 in the 12th over.

Matthew Wade smashed an unbeaten 36 off 23 balls, but it was not enough in the end.

Both the ODI World Cup finalists had fielded second-string squads for the T20 series, which concludes in Bengaluru on Sunday.

Yadav was delighted with the recovery from Tuesday’s defeat.

“The toss didn’t go our way, but the character the boys showed is important,” he said at the post-match ceremony.

“We said we have to go out and express ourselves – be fearless and be clear in your mind.”

Wade admitted his side lost this game to the Indian spinners.

“We didn’t play the spin very well through the middle,” he said in the post-match ceremony.

“They got hold of us in the fifth over and didn’t let go.

“There’s some areas to tighten up for us. We need to continue to learn, especially the guys who are below the experienced guys in the squad.

“The World Cup is just around the corner, so these are opportunities to impress.”

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies