• A flurry of boundaries as rain-hit match in Nagpur is restricted to an 8-over tie
Skipper Rohit Sharma’s blazing knock lifted India to a six-wicket victory over Australia in an enthralling and shortened second Twenty20 international in Nagpur yesterday to level the three-match series at 1-1.
Chasing 91 after the match was reduced to eight overs a side due to a wet outfield, Rohit finished with a 20-ball unbeaten 46 while Dinesh Karthik scored the winning runs with four balls to spare after Axar Patel (2-13) did the damage earlier.
India were cruising at 51-1 at the halfway stage, with Adam Zampa briefly halting their momentum by taking out opener K L Rahul (10) before turning the game on its head by dismissing Virat Kohli (11) and Suryakumar Yadav (0) in successive balls.
The hosts never lost control of the chase, despite Zampa’s outstanding 3-16 spell, thanks to captain Rohit leading the charge before Karthik hit a four and a six off the only two balls he faced to wrap up the victory. Overnight rain had rendered the outfield waterlogged and although the weather had been clear yesterday, the start of play was postponed by more than 2-1/2 hours after several pitch inspections.
Rohit, named player of the match, said: “I was quite surprised as well. I didn’t expect it to go quite as well as that. For the last 8-9 months I have been playing like that so it didn’t change much. But when you are playing a game like that you can’t plan too much.”
He added: “You just have to play the situation and use conditions to your advantage. I felt when we were bowling the bowlers had something to bowl to. We used the conditions pretty well. But then at the back end dew started coming in. That is where we want guys to learn how tough it is.”
Roht explained: “It was good to see Bumrah on the park. Slowly and steadily he is coming back into his rhythm. As a team we are not going to analyse it too much. Axar has fitted in the role well. He can bowl in any phase of the game. He brings a lot to the game.”
India elected to bowl first and reduced Australia to 31-3 in 3.1 overs after Cameron Green was run out and Glenn Maxwell fell for a golden duck to Axar, who bowled Tim David in his next over.
Jasprit Bumrah, playing his first match in over two months, marked his return with a searing yorker to dismiss Aaron Finch (31) before Matthew Wade’s unbeaten 43 off 20 carried Australia to 90-5 as Harshal Patel conceded 19 runs in the final over. Australia clinched a four-wicket victory in the series opener in Mohali on Tuesday after chasing down 208 runs with four balls to spare.
The teams will meet in Hyderabad tomorrow for the series decider.
Australia: 90-5, 8 overs (Aaron Finch 31, M Wade 43 not out, S Smith 7; Axar Patel 2-13, Bumrah 1-22) lost to India: 92-4, 7.2 overs (Rohit Sharma 46 not out, Virat Kohli 11, Dinesh Karthik 10 not out; Zampa 3-16, Cummins 1-23) by 6 wickets