Hardik Pandya smashed two consecutive sixes to play perfect role of a finisher as India defeated Australia by six wickets in a high-scoring second Twenty20 International that saw the visitors seal the Twenty20 International Series with one match in hand.
In absence of captain Aaron Finch, Australia managed to reach a mammoth 194-5 in 20 overs after stand-in skipper Matthew Wade struck a gritty half century before other batsmen chipped in. India rode on a fine start and were left with 14 runs to chase of Daniel Sams in the final over.
Pandya, who came into the Twenty20 series with scores of 90 and 92 in the three-match ODI series, smacked Sams for consecutive sixes in the third and fourth ball after collecting a double in the first as India reached 195-4 with two balls to spare.
KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawa and Virat Kohli all contributed in India’s cause but they were still far from the target needing 46 from 23 balls after the captain departed. Pandya, together with Shreyas Iyer, held his nerve to finish off the game in style adding the required runs in just 21 balls.
The man-of-the-match hit a 22-ball 42 with his innings also laced with three boundaries. Dhawan and Rahul (30) gave a solid start scoring 56 runs in the first five overs. After Rahul’s departure, Dhawan added another 39 with Kohli who made sure India play catch-up with the net run rate.
Dhawan scored a 36-ball 52 with four boundaries and two sixes. Sanju Samson (15 off 10) played a couple of big shots and Kohli contributed a 24-ball 40 with two sixes and two boundaries before Pandya weaved his magic.
Australia had an identical start after Wade began briskly smashing all Indian bowlers that came his way. He was the majority scorer in a 47-run partnership with opening partner D’Arcy Short (nine) in a 27-ball stand. Wade scored a 32-ball 58 with 10 fours and a six.
Steven Smith then teamed up with Glenn Maxwell (22) and Moises Henriques (26) to add 45 and 48 runs respectively for the third and fourth wickets. Smith’s 38-ball 42 included three fours and two sixes. Marcus Stoinis (16) pushed the team close to 200-run mark.
T Natrajan continued to impress in his Indian team debut series taking 2-20 from four overs.