Sydney: India sealed the T20 International series against Australia with a game to spare after a swashbuckling Hardik Pandya finished what Shikhar Dhawan had set out to achieve with a scintillating 36-ball 52 in the second and penultimate match here on Sunday.
The visitors thus avenged their 1-2 ODI series loss, chasing down a challenging 195-run target set by the home side. They won the opener in Canberra by 11 runs on Friday.
Needing 25 of the final 12 balls after fetching 12 in the 18th over, Pandya brought the equation down to 14 in the last over with two fours.
The all-rounder then hit two sixes to seal the match in India’s favour.
Pandya remained unconquered on 42 off 22 balls.
India were off to a sedate start with no boundaries coming in the first two overs. But fours and sixes rained from the willows of Dhawan (52) and K.L. Rahul (30) once the duo got their eye in.
Dhawan got himself a couple of boundaries and a six off Glenn Maxwell as India scored 34 runs in two overs to gain the momentum they were looking for. Dhawan, despite coming down the wicket early, managed to pull Sean Abbott over deep mid-wicket for another six.
Australia got their first breakthrough when Rahul gave a simple catch to Mitchell Swepson at deep point. But India had still managed a strong start, reaching 60/1 at the end of the Powerplay.
Having played some fine shots, Dhawan top-edged an attempted slog sweep off leg-spinner Adam Zampa to give Australia their second wicket.
Sanju Samson got out after a 10-ball 15 but it was debutant Daniel Sams, who gave the hosts their biggest breakthrough when he had Virat Kohli caught behind for a well-made 24-ball 40.
Earlier, stand-in skipper Matthew Wade led from the front with a half century and powered hosts to a strong total after a fairly commanding performance with the bat.