Nagpur: Dinesh Karthik (10 n o, 2b, 1×4, 1×6) did the finisher’s role to perfection again as he and skipper Rohit Sharma (46 n o, 20b, 4×4, 4×6) helped India square the T20 series against Australia here Friday. In a rain-curtailed match Rohit Sharma with his belligerence saw India home with four balls to spare. In reply to Australia’s 90 for five in eight overs, India scored 92 for four in 7.2 overs to romp home in style.
However, prior to that there were some anxious moments for the hosts as KL Rahul (10), Virat Kohli (11), Suryakumar Yadav (0) and Hardik Pandya (9) failed to get going. But Karthik, the moment he walked in, ended all the tension with two pick up shots on the leg side. The first ball he faced from Daniel Sams, he hit over square-leg for six and followed it up with a flick to the mid-wicket boundary to finish the game for India.
However, it was Rohit who kept India in the hunt with some sublime stroke-play. It seemed he was in a different zone as he smashed all the Australian bowlers at will. All the sixes that Rohit were gigantic wants with the balls landing deep into the stands.
For Australia, the standout bowler was Adam Zampa (3/16).
Earlier Matthew Wade (43 n o, 20b, 4×4, 3×6) again turned out to be the nemesis for India with a belligerent knock to power Australia to 90 for the loss of five wickets. Wade hit three towering sixes – all in the final over off Harshal Patel (0/32), while skipper Aaron Finch (31, 15b, 4×4, 1×6) all played his part after wet outfield due to overnight rain reduced the match to a eight overs-a-side contest.
Australia looked to put up a show for the capacity crowd at the VCA Stadium here but Axar Patel (2/13) snapped two wickets in an impressive spell to leave them at 31 for 3. However, Wade ensured the visitors ended things in a flourish as he along with Steve Smith (8) added 44 runs in the final 18 balls.
Earlier, Finch scooped one over the keeper’s head for a boundary and then sent one across the point area to accumulate 10 runs off Hardik Pandya (0/10 in 1 over), who opened the bowling for India.
Axar was then introduced and Cameron Green (5) tried to lift him over long-on but a running Virat Kohli couldn’t hold on to the ball. Kohli, however, redeemed himself in the next delivery when his quick throw helped Axar to dislodge the stumps and end Green’s stay.
The spinner was again in action when he cleaned up the dangerous Glenn Maxwell for a duck as Australia slumped to 19 for two in two overs. Axar was once again in his element as he pegged back Tim David’s middle stumps with an arm ball when he looked to go for a slog.
At the halfway mark, Rohit handed the ball to comeback man Jasprit Bumrah (1/23 in 2 overs) and the India pace spearhead produced his trademark yorker to castle Finch.
Brief scores: Australia 90 for 5 (Matthew Wade 43 n o, Aaron Finch 31, Axar Patel 2/13) lost to India 92 for 4 in 7.2 overs (Rohit Sharma 46 n o, Dinesh Karthik 10 n o, Adam Zampa 3/16)