Rohit Sharma and Dinesh Karthik powered India to a six-wicket win over Australia in an eight-leg draw in Nagpur as the hosts leveled the series.
Chasing Australia’s 90-5, India hit their target with four balls to spare after Karthik made the first delivery he faced for six and followed that up with a draw for four.
The outfield was considered too wet for the T20I game to start on time after rain earlier in the week, and ground staff worked to make it playable, even if only for a reduced contest . The game finally started after 9:30 p.m. local time.
Australia won the opener in Mohali on Tuesday, making this second game of the three-game series a must-win for the hosts.
After being set up, Australia captain Aaron Finch moved to 31 at the top of the order, before Jasprit Bumrah grabbed the stump of his leg, and wicketkeeper batsman Matthew Wade netted a brutal 43 not on 20 balls.
KL Rahul (10) and Virat Kohli (11) roughly doubled the numbers as India launched into their pursuit, but it was captain Sharma who pinned the innings together, with four sixes and four fours in his 20-ball 46no.
Daniel Sams was handed the ball for the final as Australia looked for heroism, but the pacemaker was whipped over the ropes by Karthik on the first ball before sealing victory with another limit. The series decider takes place in Hyderabad on Sunday.
Finch sees Australia fail
Captain Finch ended his three game streak of scoring under 30 in the T20I, but his efforts weren’t enough to catapult Australia to a high enough score.
The skipper said during the post-match presentation: “We just got knocked out a bit at the back there. Rohit played a great run.”
He said Indian bowler Axar Patel (2-13), who won wickets from Glenn Maxwell and Tim David, had two “brilliant” overs, which were “probably the difference in the game”.
Rohit welcomes the return of Bumrah
Jasprit Bumrah has made a timely appearance for India with the T20 World Cup in sight. Sidelined recently with a back injury, the star fast bowler satisfied captain Rohit by taking 1-23 from two overs.
“Coming back after a few months from a back injury can be tricky. We have to give him more time. It was good to see him in the park. It was important for us, and he got a crucial wicket,” , said Rohit.
“Slowly and surely, he is coming back to his own pace. It was good to see him play at full throttle, but as a team we’re not going to analyze that too much, we just want to let him come and enjoy his game.”