Team India won the third and last Twenty20 International match (T20I) by six wickets with two balls to spare to level the three-match series here at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on Sunday. In the thrilling final, Krunal Pandya registered the best figures ever by a spinner in the T20I format as he scalped four Australian wickets and conceded 36 runs in his four-over spell.
Chasing the 165-run target set by Australia, Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, started sprightly for India before Mitchell Starc dismissed Dhawan (41) in the sixth over. Next in line, Sharma (23) was sent back to the pavilion by Adam Zampa.
Indian skipper Virat Kohli (61 not out), who scored his 19th T20I fifty, entered the fray in the seventh over and despite seeing KL Rahul (14) and Rishabh Pant (0) departing from the other end in quick succession, led the visitors across the line along with Dinesh Karthik (22 not out).
After opting to bat first, Australia skipper Aaron Finch along with D'Arcy Short gave a solid start adding 68 runs to his side. To break the momentum in the 9th over, a slow delivery from Kuldeep Yadav played by Finch (28) went straight into the hands of Pandya at the short fine leg.
In the next over, Pandya dismissed D'Arcy Short (33) and Ben McDermott (0) in consecutive deliveries to bring the 'Men in Blue' back into the game.
An on-fire Pandya then sent the rest of the Australian middle-order, including Glenn Maxwell (13) and Alex Carey (27), back to the pavilion. However, pacers Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Khaleel Ahmed proved expensive as they failed to control the Australian batsmen towards the end.
The lower-order cameos by Marcus Stoinis and Nathan Coulter-Nile took Australia to a competitive 164 runs in 20 overs. However, Pandya's record-breaking spell and the Indian skipper's timely knock propelled the visitors to a victory in the third and final game.
While Pandya was adjudged 'Man of the Match' for his outstanding spell, Dhawan was named 'Player of the Series' for his consistent performance.