India beat Australia in thriller to claim T20 series victory

AFP

India blitzed a second-string Australia in Sunday's second T20 international to win by six wickets and claim an unassailable 2-0 series lead.

Australia, without David Warner, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and captain Aaron Finch, posted 194-5 at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

The tourists, who won Friday's series opener by 11 runs, initially struggled to chase down their target but Hardik Pandya inspired them to a thrilling victory.

Australia were put in to bat first and Matthew Wade, named skipper in Finch's absence, made steady progress by hitting a swift half-century.

But Wade was sent packing in comical fashion after Virat Kohli dropped a catch before redeeming himself by running out his counterpart for 58.

D'Arcy Short (9) and Glenn Maxwell (22) were caught by Shreyas Iyer and Washington Sundar respectively either side of Wade's exit as Australia looked for some momentum.

Steve Smith fell just short of a half-century, managing 46 runs from 38 balls before being caught by Pandya, while Moises Henriques was caught behind soon after for 26.

India were set a target of 195 after Marcus Stoinis put 16 more runs on the board and they looked to have given themselves too much to do.

KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan scored 30 and 52 respectively, both men being taken by Mitchell Swepson, before Sanju Samson slapped straight to Smith at long-off.

Pandya's impressive batting got India, who required 72 runs off 36 balls on one point, back on track with his three fours and two sixes, either side of Kohli's departure for 40.

Joined at the crease by Iyer (12 not out) for a gripping conclusion, Pandya finished with an unbeaten 22-ball 42 to get his side over the line for a series victory with two balls to spare.

The final game of the three-match series takes place in Sydney on Tuesday, before a four-Test series starts on 17 December in Adelaide.


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