Brilliant Pandya seals series
A stunning late assault from India all-rounder Hardik Pandya has helped his side to an unassailable 2-0 series lead in the Twenty20 International series against Australia, winning by six wickets with two balls to spare at the SCG on Sunday night.
Pandya's unbeaten 42 from 22 balls saw him secure the man of the match award as Virat Kohli's men chased down 195 to claim the match and the series.
India decided to bowl first upon winning the toss, Matthew Wade leading Australia in the absence of Aaron Finch and Pat Cummins and getting the innings off to a rollicking start.
D'Arcy Short could only make 9 before falling to T Natarajan, but Wade flew to a half century to put the pressure on the Indian bowling attack that was missing first choice options Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Shami.
Wade was dismissed in comical fashion having score 58 from 32 balls, dropped at cover by captain Kohli off Washington Sundar from a leading edge, but subsequently run out after being stranded mid-pitch with Steve Smith.
Smith made 46 from 38 balls without ever really getting going, Glenn Maxwell (22 from 13 balls) and Moises Henriques (26 from 18) providing cameos as Australia finished with a strong total of 5-194.
India's pursuit of 195 was spearheaded by Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul, the duo adding 56 in 5.2 overs before the returning AJ Tye removed Rahul for 30.
Dhawan rocketed past 50 as Virat Kohli began his work at number three, Dhawan out moments after raising his bat for the milestone as he perished to deep square leg from the bowling of Adam Zampa.
With Kohli at the crease the chase always looked on track, Sanju Samson coming and going as he made a brief cameo of 15 from just 10 balls.
Kohli reached 40 from 22 deliveries before edging debutant Daniel Sams behind, captain Wade with a catc above his head to send the Indian skipper on his way with 46 runs still needed from 23 balls.
Enter Pandya. Playing as a batsman due to continual issues with his back, Pandya smashed Sams for two sixes in the final over to seal a memorable triumph, Australia left to rue poor death bowling and a lack of penetration throughout.
The win gives India the series triumph with one match still remaining, again at the SCG on Tuesday night.
IMAGE: Cricket Australia.