Report Card: Kohli, Natarajan, Hardik Star as India Win T20 Series

T Natarajan, Washington Sundar, Hardik Pandya, Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja were among the top players for India.

5 min read
T Natarajan celebrates one of his three wickets against Australia in Canberra. 

After a disappointing start to the Australian tour, India turned things around in emphatic style in the T20 series against the hosts and continued their domination over their opposition in the format. The 2-1 series will please the Indian team management who are preparing for the 2021 T20 World Cup in India.

The likes of T Natarajan, Washington Sundar, Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja were among the better performers for Virat Kohli’s side. However, the concussion and the hamstring injury to Jadeja will be a cause of concern for the visitors as they head into the four-match Test series.

India’s premier pacers Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah were rested and their replacements did not disappoint.

Here’s a look at how India’s T20 Squad fared over the three games.

KL Rahul - 4/10

Inns: 3, Runs: 81, Avg: 27, 100s/50s: 0/1

India’s vice-captain did not have the best T20 series, especially given the high standards he has set for himself in recent months. Rahul started off well with a half century in the first game but could not kick on then and in the next two games. Rahul, who was dismissed for a duck in the final game, will want to hit form as soon as he can in the coming games.

Shikhar Dhawan - 5/10

Inns: 3, Runs: 81, Avg: 27, 100s/50s: 0/1

Much like Rahul, Dhawan did not have the best time with the bat but did come good in the crucial second T20 when India sealed the series. Dhawan was cleaned up by an unplayable delivery in the first game from Mitchell Starc but managed to lay the platform for Hardik Pandya to tee off from in the second game with a mature half century. He was dismissed for 28 in the final game but only after Daniel Sams plucked the ball out of thin air in the deep.

Virat Kohli - 7/10

Inns: 3, Runs: 134, Avg: 85, 100s/50s: 0/1

The captain had a bad start in the T20 series as Mitchell Swepson deceived him early on. Once the teams came back to Sydney, Kohli battled his way to 40 to keep India in the hunt in a game they eventually won thanks to the heroics of Hardik Pandya. In the third game, the captain scored 85 and looked to be set for that elusive century alongside acing the chase yet again. He ran out of steam and partners eventually but finished as India’s highest scorer in the series.

Sanju Samson - 3/10

Inns: 3, Runs: 48, Avg: 16, 100s/50s: 0/0

Not being able to carry on after getting a start has been a problem for Sanju Samson and once again that was the issue in Australia. Scores of 23, 15 and 10 were all Samson could register in the three games and was dismissed playing loose shots. Samson threw away his chances once again and it could be costly for his chances with a World Cup coming up.

Shreyas Iyer - 2/10

Inns: 2, Runs: 12, Avg: 12, 100s/50s: 0/0

Dropped from the first T20, Iyer, who did not have a good ODI series either, did well to hang in there and give Hardik Pandya enough support to seal the game and series in Sydney. In the third game of the series, he was dismissed for a golden duck by Mitchell Swepson. Not ideal for a player who was told that he might have to stay back for the Test series too.

Manish Pandey - 2/10

Inns: 1, Runs: 2, Avg: 2, 100s/50s: 0/0

The middle-order batsman had only one chance to perform in the T20 series and needed to stick it out with Rahul but the pressure of dot balls got to him and fell as he looked to attack the spinner. Pandey would have been disappointed with that and with not getting another chance after that.

Hardik Pandya - 7/10

Inns: 3, Runs: 78, Avg: 39, 100s/50s: 0/0

One of the stars so far of India’s tour Down Under, Hardik was at his explosive best in Sydney in the second game when it was hanging in the balance and his blistering knock got India home. In the first and third T20s, he failed to kick on after getting a start but crucially never let the run rate drop at any point and scored at a very brisk pace all through. He finished with the Player of the Series Award.

Ravindra Jadeja - 6/10

Inns: 1, Runs: 44, Avg: --, 100s/50s: 0/0

Unlucky to have copped a nasty blow to the head off Mitchell Starc in the first T20, Jadeja was ruled out of the series after that. However, his explosive 23-ball-44 set up the win on the day giving India’s bowlers enough runs to work with. Apart from the concussion he also suffered a hamstring injury.

Mohammed Shami - 2/10

Inns: 1, Overs: 4, Runs: 46, Econ: 11.5, Wickets: 0

For once, the speedster had no response to the Australian counter attack in the first T20 at Canberra. He was by far India’s most expensive bowler on the day after which he was rested from the final two T20s as one would expect.

Yuzvendra Chahal - 5/10

Inns: 3, Overs: 12, Runs: 117, Econ: 9.75, Wickets: 4

At the centre of the controversy surrounding the concussion substitute in Canberra, Chahal produced a fantastic spell to derail the Australian batting and win India the game. He finished as the Player of the Match as Australia weren’t able to come to terms with his guile. His next two games weren’t the most impressive, especially the third as Maxwell took him to the cleaners with relative ease.

Washington Sundar - 6/10

Inns: 3, Overs: 12, Runs: 85, Econ: 7.08, Wickets: 2

On the money with his line and length almost all through the series, Washington Sundar played a very crucial role with plenty of dots in the powerplay. While his first two games did not yield wickets, his third outing saw him dismiss Aaron Finch for a duck and then also account for the dangerous Steve Smith, playing a big role in restricting Australia to below par total in Sydney.

T Natarajan - 8/10

Inns: 3, Overs: 12, Runs: 83, Econ: 6.91, Wickets: 6

The left armer has not looked back since making his debut and one can expect him to cause plenty of problems for opposition batsmen in the years to come. Natarajan struck telling blows through out the three-match series and was exceptional in the second game too. Australia scored 194 in their innings but Natarajan conceded only 20 runs in his 4 overs. Fast tracking him into the national team from the IPL has done India plenty of good. Natarajan’s been one of the most economical bowlers for India on this tour.

Deepak Chahar - 3/10

Inns: 3, Overs: 12, Runs: 111, Econ: 9.25, Wickets: 1

With the senior pacers rested, there was plenty of responsibility on Chahar but he failed to deliver under difficult circumstances. Chahar had a good start to the series when he dismissed Moises Henriques to help the winning cause and kept things tight in terms of his economy. Chahar went wicketless in the next couple of games and even failed to control the run rate as Matthew Wade opened the batting and took the attack to India from the first ball.

Shardul Thakur - 5/10

Inns: 2, Overs: 8, Runs: 82, Econ: 10.25, Wickets: 2

Having bowled brilliantly in the final ODI, Thakur was a late addition to the T20 squad with two important wickets in the Sydney T20s. He dismissed Maxwell just before he went through the gears in the second game and then accounted for Matthew Wade in the third just as he was nearing his century. Some good fielding and Thakur may even have had a couple of more scalps in the final game. He added a couple of lusty blows with the bat in the third game but could not do enough to take India home.

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