Rohit Sharma, Akshar Patel power India to series-levelling win against Australia

Dinesh Karthik (left) provided finishing touches to the win after Rohit Sharma anchored India’s chase

In the rain-truncated second T20 international between India and Australia at the Vidarbha Cricket Association ground in Nagpur, the hosts levelled the series 1-1 after an incredible comeback powered by captain Rohit Sharma and all-rounder Akshar Patel as they won the contest by 6 wickets in 4 balls to spare.

The contest between India and Australia on Friday night was of only 8 overs per side as it was delayed by a wet outfield. Australia batted first and posted a challenging total of 90/5, which was powered by a brilliant 43 not out from just 20 balls by Matthew Wade, who once again was severe on the Indian bowlers.

Australian wicket-keeper batsman Matthew Wade hammered 3 sixes and 4 boundaries to provide impetus to his side after captain Aaron Finch signalled a return to form with a 15-ball 31, which was studded with 4 boundaries and a six.

With their backs firmly pressed against the wall having lost the first game to Australia, openers KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma came out all guns blazing with the Indian captain taking the initiative in his hands. 

Rohit Sharma kept running out of partners but kept his side in the hunt, and he batted right until the end to remain unbeaten on 46 not out from 20 balls, for which he hit 4 boundaries and as many sixes.

The Indian captain smacked 2 sixes off ace Australia bowler Josh Hazlewood to collect a total of 20 runs in the first over, with KL Rahul hitting the third six off it, which put India right on top of the chase. 

KL Rahul could manage only 10 from 6 balls before he was castled by Adam Zampa, who once again had the last laugh in his contest against Virat Kohli. The Australian legspinner bowled Virat Kohli for 11 from 6 balls with the help of 2 boundaries, but India never really looked under pressure with Rohit Sharma going all guns blazing on Friday night.

Even though there was a slump in the middle with Suryakumar Yadav being the third victim of Adam Zampa — trapped leg before for a first-ball duck — and Hardik Pandya falling to Pat Cummins after a run-a-ball 9, the Indian side continued to be on track to record a win and level the series. 

Adam Zampa was the pick of the bowlers from either side, returning with 2-0-16-3. 

Despite Josh Hazlewood having won over left to bowl, Australia captain Aaron Finch gave the ball to Daniel Sams in the final over when India needed another 10 runs to win. 

India wicket-keeper batsman Dinesh Karthik clobbered the first ball for a six and followed it up with a boundary to finish the game with 4 balls to spare, in what turned out to be a thoroughly entertaining game for fans who had waited for hours at a stretch to watch their favourite cricketers in action.

For India, Akshar Patel was among the architects of the win as he bowled impressively to return with 2-0-13-2. Only two overs were allowed per each bowler due to the restrictions.

The two teams will now move to Hyderabad to face off in what will be the series decider on Sunday at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium.