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Virat, Rohit end 2019 as joint highest run-scorers in T20Is

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Mumbai: Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, two of India’s batting mainstays, have ended 2019 as the joint highest run-getters in T20 internationals.

In what was India’s last T20I of the year on Wednesday evening, Virat and Rohit came out with exceptional batting performances as the hosts took the West Indies bowlers to the cleaners at the Wankhede and went on to clinch the three-match series 2-1.

Going into the series decider, Virat was one run ahead of Rohit. After West Indies put India to bat first, Rohit scored 71 while the Indian captain scored 70* as a result of which both are tied at 2,633 runs each in T20Is.

The Indian skipper has accumulated these runs in 75 matches (70 innings) at an average of 52.66. Rohit, on the other hand, needed 104 matches (96 innings) to score the same number of runs at an average of 32.10.

While Virat has scored 24 half centuries in his T20I career so far, Rohit has hit 19 fifties.

New Zealand’s Martin Guptill sits at the third spot in the list of highest run-getters in T20Is. He has scored 2,436 runs and is followed by Shoaib Malik (2,263) and Brendon McCullum (2,140).

In the third and final T20I, India posted a mammoth total of 240/3 riding on the back of brilliant knocks from Rohit (71), KL Rahul (91) and Virat (70*). During the course of Indian innings, Rohit also became the first Indian batsman to smash 400 international sixes.

In reply, West Indies could manage 173/8 in their allotted quota of 20 overs and lost the match by 67 runs.

India are now scheduled to play three-match ODI series against West Indies beginning Sunday in Chennai. After that, they will play three T20Is against Sri Lanka in early January next year.

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Nail-biter on card as India face Australia in Bengaluru

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Bengaluru: There could not have been a better ending to the three-match ODI series between the top two teams in world cricket at the moment. While Australia triumphed emphatically in Mumbai, it was India who roared back in Rajkot. And now, both the teams would be looking to deliver the final punch when they lock horns in the series decider at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium on Sunday.

The three-match series was billed as a showdown between two heavyweights and it has lived up to that. Both the teams have been able to showcase why they are best in the business in the present times.

In the first ODI at Wankhede, Australia simply overpowered Team India, winning the match by 10 wickets. Aaron Finch and David Warner scored unbeaten centuries as they chased down the total of 255 with utmost ease. The defeat not only hurt the Indian team badly, but it also made them re-think their strategy and what augurs best for the team.

In Rajkot, the team stopped their contentious experimentation with their top three and it did wonders for them. Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan scored, Virat Kohli returned to his favourite no. 3 spot and scored. But the biggest plus for the team was K.L. Rahul’s adaptability which meant the Karnataka batsman also found success at his new No.5 spot.

The Indian bowling too bounced back from the thrashing they received in Mumbai. Jasprit Bumrah was back at his accurate best and, in the company of Mohammed Shami and Navdeep Saini, shut the doors on a late fightback by unfurling a series of yorkers. Spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja were able to pick wickets even though they did concede runs in what was a high-scoring match at the SCA.

Going into the finale, Australia might be tempted to make changes, especially in their bowling department which conceded 340 runs on a placid Rajkot wicket. However, one of the most worrying things for the visitors would be the performance of Mitchell Starc who was taken to the task by the Indian batters in the second ODI.

Thus, Finch would like his main strike bowler to come back to his usual best in Bengaluru.

As far as Team India is concerned, changes are unlikely and can only be forced due to the injuries of Dhawan and Rohit. Dhawan was struck on the ribs while batting and did not field, and Rohit went down clutching his left shoulder after diving to save a boundary in the deep.

However, but both batsmen appear to be on track for a full recovery, while Rishabh Pant, too, should be back from the head blow that kept him out in Rajkot. But keeping in mind how Rahul performed behind the wickets in Rajkot as well with the bat, one doesn’t see Pant featuring in the playing XI in the decider.

Chinnaswamy has been a favoured hunting ground for the visitors, who have won each of their last three games at this venue and would thus like to keep the trend going. The Men in Blue, on the other hand, would like to replicate the performance in Rajkot and avoid what can be their second straight home series-defeat against the Aussies.

Squads: India: Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma (vc), Rishabh Pant (wk), Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, Shikhar Dhawan, Shivam Dube, Shreyas Iyer, Ravindra Jadeja, Kedar Jadhav, Manish Pandey, KL Rahul, Navdeep Saini, Mohammed Shami, Shardul Thakur, Kuldeep Yadav

Australia: Aaron Finch (c), Alex Carey (vc & wk), Pat Cummins (vc), Ashton Agar, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Marnus Labuschagne, Kane Richardson, D’Arcy Short, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Ashton Turner, David Warner, Adam Zampa

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