India did not experiment with their playing XI even though the fifth and final T20I against Australia was only of academic interest. They played almost their first-choice team. They won the match too, but it was far from being a perfect game for the home side.
At the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore. Pacer Deepak Chahar was the only one from XI that played the previous game who missed this match, owing to a medical emergency.
After some anxious moments, India carved out a six-run win, thanks to timely strikes from Ravi Bishnoi (2/29) and Mukesh Kumar (3/32), and Axar Patel's superbly economic spell (1/14) on a tricky surface. Shreyas Iyer's composed 53 too played a key role as India won the series 4-1.
In reply to India's 160/8, the Australians could manage 154/8. With 10 to defend in the deciding over, Arshdeep Singh, returning in place of Chahar, finally got his yorkers right after once again taking some stick early on from Travis Head.
Arshdeep though was a bit lucky as well as the first ball of that final over to rival skipper Matthew Wade was quite high and should have been called a wide. That said, credit goes to the left-arm quick for staying calm and executing his yorkers well.
Arshdeep, who bowled better in his second spell, had also accounted for Ben McDermott (54), Australia's top scorer, at a critical phase of the game.
India spinner Ravi Bishnoi celebrates the key wicket of Travis Head in Bangalore on Sunday. Getty Images
If Iyer was India's star early on for producing a world-class knock and sharing partnerships of 42 with keeper-batter Jitesh Sharma (24) and 46 with Axar (31), Bishnoi cleaning up Head with a faster one and Mukesh removing Matthew Short and Ben Dwarshuis off successive deliveries in the 17th over were crucial in terms of the outcome of this game.
From the outset, it was clear that the Chinnaswamy pitch was not one of those familiar 22 yards where batters could keep making merry. But Iyer showed the way with a refined fifty, mixing well-judged ones and twos along with the occasional hits to the fence.
His pick-up shot off left-arm quick Dwarshuis over mid-off for a six was truly an extraordinary shot. But the other Indian batsmen could not emulate him except Axar (31 off 21 balls), with whom Iyer forged 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 boost to the team total. However, it was not really sufficient to nullify Australia’s impressive outing with the ball.
The Aussie pacers read the pitch quite well and took the pace off the ball. 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 got one to climb onto the body of Jaiswal from a length and the lack of room to free arms led to the left-hander mistiming his shot. Ruturaj Gaikwad too fell within the Powerplay. But Iyer steadied the ship, before the bowlers navigated it home.