Hardik Pandya smashes India to Twenty20 series win over Australia

Hardik Pandya smashes India to Twenty20 series win over Australia

Daniel Sams snared the prized scalp of Virat Kohli but got smacked for two sixes by Hardik Pandya as India claimed a thrilling final-over victory against Australia in Sunday night’s Twenty20.

A rampaging Pandya scored 42 off 22 balls at the SCG, where his 28-minute blitz blasted the tourists to a six-wicket win and unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.

A caretaker captain’s knock of 58 from Matthew Wade, which ended prematurely after a bizarre mix-up with Steve Smith, helped the under-strength hosts compile a total of 5-194 after being asked to bat.

Aaron Finch, David Warner, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Ashton Agar – all part of Australia’s first-choice T20 side – were unavailable for a variety of reasons.

Master chaser Kohli threatened to personally march India to another victory, only to become a memorable maiden wicket for Sam in the 17th over of the innings.

Pandya and Shreyas Iyer were undeterred and reduced their side’s victory equation to 14 runs from the final over, which was delivered by Sams.

Pandya heaved the second and fourth balls of the final over over the rope to secure victory, with India finishing 195-4.

Kohli was on 40, with the match in the balance and his side requiring 46 runs from the final four overs, when he slashed at a delivery.

It would likely have been called wide if India’s skipper shouldered arms; instead a leaping Wade snaffled the edge.

Sams conceded five runs off the opening over of the innings before a rollicking Shikhar Dhawan belted 52, rocketing India to 56-0 from five overs with help from KL Rahul.

Mitch Swepson returned tidy figures of 1/25 from four overs to help Australia regain momentum before Pandya fired back in the topsy-turvy tussle.

Sams, who was presented his cap by selector and former skipper George Bailey after being rewarded for a league-best 30 during the 2019-20 Big Bash League season, earlier finished eight not out.

Wade was run out on 58 after a breakdown in communication with batting partner Smith in a moment of madness that ended the eighth over.

Wade gave Kohli some catching practice in the covers, only for India’s skipper to spill the ball.

Smith and Wade both suddenly found themselves standing in the middle of the pitch, with the latter having turned to the pavilion and given up hope of a reprieve from Kohli.

Kohli could not help but chuckle after returning the ball to keeper Rahul, who whipped off the bails as Wade shot Smith a dirty look before trudging off the field.

Smith, who was on three at the time of Wade’s dismissal, scored 46 from 38 balls.

Thangarasu Natarajan snared 2/19 in the absence of rested quicks Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah.