SYDNEY: In the final over to propel India to a dramatic six-wheel series T20 International victory over Australia in Sydney on Sunday, Hardik Pandya smashed two sixes in three balls.
Pandya was India’s hero with a string of potent shots, including the winning six off debutant Daniel Sams with two balls to spare, chasing 25 runs in the final two overs in search of Australia’s target of 195.
After Shikhar Dhawan clubbed 52 from 36 and skipper Virat Kohli 40 from 24 in India’s 195 for four, Pandya ended with 42 out of 22 balls.
The victory gave India a game to play in Sydney on Tuesday in the T20 series after losing the previous 50-over ODI series 2-1.
Man-of-the-match Pandya said, “I have been in these situations many times and I’ve learned from my mistakes in the past.” My game is always about the confidence that I have; it has the fine line where I support myself.
Kohli was proud of the commitment of his team to take up the show in such a diverse way.
“I’m very proud of this team for the fact that two of our established players are not playing, and to win like this he said. Pandya now understands that this is the moment for us to establish ourselves in the final position and play match-winning knocks.
Shikhar Dhawan as well as K.L. Rahul gave a flying start to India and had 56 runs in five overs on the board before Rahul was trapped in the deep for 30 off 22.
In his 36-ball stint with four fours and two sixes, Swepson then took a safe skied catch off Dhawan who tucked into leg-spinner Adam Zampa on 52.
Newcomer Daniel Sams got Kohli’s coveted wicket. He bowled a wide delivery, and Kohli chased it with two fours and two sixes off 24 balls, having a thin nick behind Wade just when the Indian skipper looked risky.
Earlier, Matthew Wade and Steve Smith, stand-in Australia skipper, crossed half-centuries to lift Australia to five for 194.
Wade, who instead of a wounded Aaron Finch was elevated to captaincy, smacked 58, while Smith chipped in with a breezy 46 after India won the toss and decided to bat.
“We might have been a little bit short with the bat,” Wade said. “Sadly, we didn’t perform well with the ball towards the end.”
When he was dropped at the third attempt by Kohli, Wade was run out in ludicrous situations, but turned his back and tried to make his way from the throw to wicket-keeper Rahul.
After Wade had belted 10 fours and a six off 32 balls, it was a huge wicket for India.
Smith was caught off 38 balls with three fours and two sixes by Pandya at long-off from leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal at the third attempt.
Before so much more damage was done, India eliminated risk man Glenn Maxwell, caught by Washington Sundar at point off Shardul Thakur for 22 out of 13 balls with two sixes.
With two for 20, Thangarasu Natarajan was the best of India’s bowlers.
Without their pace spearheads, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood, Australia went crucially into the tie. Due to a family condition, Starc was removed on humanitarian grounds and will also miss the final game, while Hazlewood has a back injury.
M.S. Wade run out 58
D.J.M. Short c Iyer b Natarajan 9
S.P.D. Smith c Pandya b Chahal 46
G.J. Maxwell c Sundar b Thakur 22
M.C. Henriques c Rahul b Natarajan 26
M.P. Stoinis not out 16
D.R. Sams not out 8
EXTRAS (LB-1, W-8) 9
TOTAL (for five wkts, 20 overs) 194
FALL OF WKTS: 1-47, 2-75, 3-120, 4-168, 5-171.
DID NOT BAT: S.A. Abbott, M.J. Swepson, A.J. Tye, A. Zampa.
BOWLING: Chahar 4-0-48-0 (2w); Washington Sundar 4-0-35-0 (1w); Thakur 4-0-39-1 (1w); Natarajan 4-0-20-2; Chahal 4-0-51-1 (1w).
K.L. Rahul c Swepson b Tye 30
S. Dhawan c Swepson b Zampa 52
V. Kohli c Wade b Sams 40
S.V. Samson c Smith b Swepson 15
H.H. Pandya not out 42
S.S. Iyer not out 12
EXTRAS (LB-1, W-2, NB-1) 4
TOTAL (for four wkts, 19.4 overs) 195
FALL OF WKTS: 1-56, 2-95, 3-120, 4-149.
DID NOT BAT: Washington Sundar, D.L. Chahar, S.N. Thakur, Y.S. Chahal, T. Natarajan.
BOWLING: Sams 3.4-0-41-1; Abbott 2-0-17-0; Tye 4-0-47-1 (1nb, 1w); Maxwell 1-0-19-0; Swepson 4-0-25-1 (1w); Henriques 1-0-9-0; Zampa 4-0-36-1.
RESULT: India won by six wickets to lead three-match series 2-0.
UMPIRES: S.J. Nogajski (Australia) and P. Wilson (Australia).
TV UMPIRE: R.J. Tucker (Australia).
MATCH REFEREE: D.C. Boon (Australia).
MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: Hardik Pandya.
FIRST MATCH: Canberra, India won by 11 runs.
THIRD MATCH: Sydney (N), Tuesday (1:10pm).