Sharma powers India to T20 win and levels series
NAGPUR, India (AP) — Captain Rohit Sharma struck 46 not out off 20 balls to power India to a six-wicket win over Australia and level their Twenty20 series on Friday.
Sharma’s blitz led India to 92-4 after Australia scored 90-5.
The second T20 was reduced to eight overs a side after a wet outfield delayed the start for 2 1/2 hours. Bowlers were limited to two overs each.
Sharma struck four fours and another four sixes as India chased down Australia’s total with four balls to spare.
Chasing 91 off 48 balls in a power shootout, Sharma and Lokesh Rahul, who scored 10, put on 39 runs off 17 balls for the first wicket.
India collapsed to 55-3 in the space of 10 deliveries. Legspinner Adam Zampa struck a triple blow to send back Rahul, Virat Kohli (11) and Suryakumar Yadav (0) in quick succession and take 3-16.
Sharma was in ominous touch, though. He powered through with a 22-run partnership off 14 balls with Hardik Pandya (9) as India edged closer to the total.
“I was quite surprised as well, actually. I didn’t expect to hit it like that and I am glad it came off,” Sharma said.
Dinesh Karthik then smashed 10 runs off two balls and the series was level with one match left.
Put in to bat, Matthew Wade was the star of the Australia innings with 43 not out off 20 balls.
Aaron Finch’s 31 off 15 launched the visitors even as Cameron Green (5) was run out cheaply.
Spinner Axar Patel dismissed Glenn Maxwell (0) and Tim David (2) at a cost of only 13 runs, and Jasprit Bumrah returned to international cricket by castling Finch with a near-perfect yorker.
Australia was down to 46-4 in five overs when Wade took over. He smacked four fours and three sixes to give them a challenging total.
“Rohit played brilliantly and two overs of Axar made the difference,” Finch said. “Wade is a calm customer at the back end and he has grown into that finisher’s role.”
The third and last T20 is on Sunday in Hyderabad, where 20 people were injured on Thursday in a stampede for tickets.
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