Dettol T20I Series v India
Nerveless Pandya steers India home to clinch series
An incredible knock from Hardik Pandya saw him ice a thrilling run chase with a monster six as Australia see series and T20 World No.1 ranking slip away
Sam Ferris at the SCG
6 December 2020, 11:35 PM AEST
A blazing Hardik Pandya cameo helped India clinch the Dettol T20 Series with a match to spare over a depleted Australia at the SCG on Sunday night.
India spoiled Matthew Wade's captaincy debut, chasing down the target of 195 with six wickets in hand and two balls to spare to beat an Australian side without six first-choice players.
Opener Shikhar Dhawan top-scored with 52 and captain Virat Kohli's 40 set up the chase, leaving cameos from Hardik Pandya (42 from 22) and Shreyas Iyer (12 from 5) to ice the match and seal the series.
India burst off the blocks in the run chase, taking 60 from the Powerplay, including 19 from a Glenn Maxwell over, as Dhawan motored to his 11th T20I half-century from 34 balls.
But two balls later he was dismissed, caught in the deep by Mitch Swepson from the bowling of his spin twin Adam Zampa.
Wickets and fireworks followed; Sanju Samson dispatched debutant Daniel Sams into the top tier of the Brewongle Stand before he picked out Steve Smith on the long-off boundary to give Swepson his first of the night.
Swepson did not concede a single boundary in his four overs, a superb effort given one very short boundary to the iconic Ladies and Members Stand.
Still at the crease was Kohli, who played an audacious lap sweep off fast bowler Andrew Tye for six to leave the visitors needing 54 from the last five overs.
But when he toe-ended a wide Sams delivery through to wicketkeeper Wade, the match swung back to parity, where it remained until the last over with 14 runs were required.
Pandya put the game beyond doubt with two huge sixes to finish the match in front of a deafening crowd that could be packed out on Tuesday.
Earlier, Australia's innings was built around the start by Wade, who found the rope three time in the opening over and clearly wasn't keen on running, hitting 10 fours and a six on his way to his second T20I half-century from just 25 balls.
Then, having clobbered his way to 58 from 31 balls, Wade was run out in strange circumstances. Dropped by Kohli he looked away in disgust at his shot, but missed the fielding error until too late, and was run out.
His bizarre dismissal brought together Smith and Glenn Maxwell, who put on 45 in 28 balls and threatened to take the total beyond 200 before the Victorian was out to a clever slower ball by Shardur Thakur for 22.
Smith and Moises Henriques (26) put on 48 for the fourth wicket on their home turf, 20 runs coming from Yuzvendra Chahal's third over and the 16th of the innings.
But when Smith was caught in the deep four short of his fifty and Henriques given caught behind after umpire Paul Wilson took an age to raise his finger (Henriques reviewed but he hit it), Australia's innings threatened to stutter.
However, the returning Marcus Stoinis – playing solely as a batsman as he recovers from a side strain – and Sams added 24 from the final nine deliveries, with three threes (three threes!) in the final over that went for 17.
Chahal looked like a different spinner from the one that claimed 3-25 in the first T20I, going for 51 from his four overs, while Thangarasu Natarajan was comfortably the pick of the bowlers with 2-20 in his second international.
The two sides meet again on Tuesday at the same venue before the Test players head to Adelaide for the first Vodafone Test on December 17.
Australia XI: Matthew Wade (c, wk), Marcus Stoinis, Moises Henriques, D'Arcy Short, Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith, Daniel Sams, Sean Abbott, Mitch Swepson, Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa
India XI: Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul (wk), Virat Kohli (c), Shreyas Iyer, Sanju Samson, Hardik Pandya, Washington Sundar, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Yuzvendra Chahal, Thangarasu Natarajan
Dettol T20 INTL Series v India 2020
Australia T20 squad: Aaron Finch (c), Sean Abbott, Alex Carey, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Glenn Maxwell, Daniel Sams, D'Arcy Short, Steven Smith, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, Andrew Tye, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa
India T20I squad: Virat Kohli (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul (wicketkeeper), Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Sanju Samson (wk), Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Navdeep Saini, Deepak Chahar, T Natarajan, Shardul Thakur
First T20: India won by 11 runs
Second T20: India won by six wickets with two balls to spare
Third T20: December 8, SCG, 7.10pm AEDT