Rohit Sharma (46 n.o., 20b, 4×4, 4×6) and Axar Patel (2/13) powered India to a six-wicket win over Australia in the second T20I here on Friday. India levelled the three-match series 1-1.
The outing was reduced to an eight-over-per-side shootout as the start was delayed due to a wet outfield. The full house at the VCA Stadium (Jamtha) was naturally disappointed with the long wait, given that there was no rain around.
The venue had witnessed showers a full day earlier, so it was surprising that the outfield could not be readied in time for action.
The deep third-man area, when bowling from the pavilion end, was the worst affected spot. The umpires K.N. Ananthapadmanabhan and Nitin Menon made three inspections before deciding that it was safe to play.
After being put in to bat, Australia posted a fighting 90 for five. Matthew Wade (43 n.o., 20b, 4×4, 3×6) was the best batter on view. Wade took a liking to Harshal Patel, hitting the pacer for three sixes in the last over.
Left-arm spinner Axar was exceptional, conceding just 13 runs in his two overs. Axar was rewarded for accuracy, as he castled middle-order batters Glenn Maxwell and Tim David. Both batters cleared their front legs to slog, but failed to make contact.
There were encouraging signs for Jasprit Bumrah, who made his comeback from injury. Save for a couple of full tosses, Bumrah was on target. A searing, unplayable yorker was far too good for captain Aaron Finch, who lost his leg stump before he could even bring his bat down.
India’s reply began brightly, with openers Rohit Sharma and K.L. Rahul smashing fast bowler Josh Hazlewood for 20 runs in the first over.
Leg-spinner Adam Zampa then ran riot, taking out Rahul (10), Virat Kohli (11) and Suryakumar Yadav (0) in quick succession.
Zampa gave the visitor some hope, but Rohit was around to keep India in front. With nine needed off the last over, Dinesh Karthik stepped up to the plate to hammer a six off the first ball he faced. A crisp pull for four next up put an end to the contest.