Pandya brings India T20 cheers

Sydney, December 6

India sealed the T20 International series against Australia with a game to spare after Hardik Pandya smashed two sixers in the 20th over, finishing what Shikhar Dhawan started, for a six-wicket win to go 2-0 up.

Pandya hit a scintillating 36-ball 52 as T20I as the visitors avenged their 1-2 ODI series loss. India chased down a challenging 195-run target in 19.4 overs, having won the first match in Canberra by 11 runs. This was India’s 10th successive win away from home in T20Is.

Needing 25 of the final 12 balls after India got 12 runs in the 18th over, Pandya brought the equation down to 14 in the last over with two fours. The all-rounder then hit two sixes in the final over, bowled by debutant Daniel Sams, to seal the match in India’s favour and also claim the Man of the Match honours. He remained unconquered on 42 off 22 balls.

As they chased the huge Australian total, India were off to a sedate start with no boundaries coming in the first two overs. But fours and sixes rained from the willows of Dhawan (52) and KL Rahul (30) after they got their eye in. Rahul capitalised on a free hit to smash Andrew Tye for a six over extra cover, India’s first boundary of the innings. Dhawan got a couple of boundaries and a six off Glenn Maxwell as India scored 34 runs in two overs to gain some momentum.

Australia got their first breakthrough when Rahul gave a simple catch to Mitchell Swepson at deep point, but India managed a strong start, reaching 60/1 at the end of the Powerplay.

Dhawan fell when he top-edged an attempted slog-sweep off leg-spinner Adam Zampa to give Australia their second wicket. Sanju Samson got out after a 10-ball 15 before debutant Daniel Sams gave the hosts their biggest breakthrough when he had Virat Kohli caught behind for a well-made 24-ball 40. Kohli played some breathtaking strokes, including a scoop for six after moving to outside off stump while facing Tye.

Earlier, stand-in skipper Matthew Wade led from the front with a blistering half-century to power Australia to a strong total. Leading the side in the absence of the injured Aaron Finch, Wade smashed 58 off 32 balls while Steve Smith made a breezy 38-ball 46 after India opted to field. For the visitors, Thangarasu Natarajan finished with 2/20 in four overs. Australia accumulated 62 runs in the last five overs after a few tight middle overs. — PTI

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