Shreyas Iyer smashed 53 and fast bowler Arshdeep Singh kept calm in a tense final over as India edged Australia by six runs to seal the T20I series 4-1 on Sunday.
India posted 160-8 in the fifth match after Iyer led the charge with his 37-ball knock despite losing regular wickets after the tourists elected to field first in Bengaluru.
Fast bowler Mukesh Kumar (3-32), leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi (2-29) and left-arm spinner Axar Patel (1-14) stood out as the hosts, who had taken an unbeatable 3-1 lead in the fourth T20, restricted Australia to 154-8.
But it was left-arm quick Arshdeep who defended nine in the last over when he began with two dot balls and then the wicket of skipper Matthew Wade for 22 to dim Australia’s hopes.
The next three balls got the batting team just three runs as India celebrated victory.
“It was a good series from day one,” skipper Suryakumar Yadav said. “We wanted to be fearless and enjoy ourselves when we were in the middle. So, very happy with that.”
It was a second-string Indian team which gave some consolation to the fans, who witnessed hosts lose the 2023 ICC Men’s ODI World Cup final to Australia on November 19 in Ahmedabad.
Ben McDermott smashed 54 off 36 deliveries for Australia in Bengaluru but the batting wobbled after his departure and Kumar struck twice on two deliveries to dent the chase.
He took down Matthew Short, for 16, Ben Dwarshuis, on a duck, to be on a hat-trick averted by Nathan Ellis.
The left-handed Wade smashed four boundaries and looked set to get the team home but a rising delivery from Arshdeep at the start of the final over made him angry as he signalled to the umpires for a no-ball.
Wade protested and got out two balls later to take back his team’s hopes, still dejected and waving his bat.
“My job is to get us home in situations like tonight,” said Wade.
“It would’ve been nice to get the result, but we learn and I thought Ben McDermott bounced back, (Jason) Behrendorff, (Ben) Dwarshuis, (Tanveer) Sangha made an impact in tough conditions.”
Earlier India lost regular wickets but Iyer set up victory after he put on fighting partnerships of 42 with Jitesh Sharma, who made 24, and 46 with Patel, who hit back with 31 from 21 balls and was named man of the match.
Iyer, who returned in the previous match after a rest following the team’s World Cup defeat, raised his fifty with a four and six before be was bowled by Nathan Ellis.
Both sides will feature in the T20 World Cup in June next year.