By B Shrikant
Nagpur, Sep 24 (IANS): India wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik, who carted Daniel Sams for 10 runs in two deliveries of the last over to help India to a six-wicket win against Australia in a truncated eight-over-a-side match, hailed skipper Rohit Sharma for his brilliant innings that helped India level the series 1-1.
Sharma struck a scintillating 20-ball 46 not out that made up for the 2 hours and 30 minutes delayed start as he led from the front, blasting four boundaries and four sixes as India survived a brilliant spell by Adam Zampa (3-16) as the hosts romped to a six-wicket win with four balls to spare.
Though Karthik sealed victory with nine runs needed off the eighth and final over, the 37-year-old veteran from Tamil Nadu said Rohit Sharma's innings was the better one and set up the victory. Chasing Australia's 90/5, India scored 92/4 in 7.2 overs to win by six wickets.
"To come out and play such shots against a world-class bowling attack with superb. Rohit played brilliantly and he set up the win for us. I think he was a worth Player of the Match," Karthik said in the post-match press conference on Friday.
Asked how he manage to pull out big shots in crunch situations after just coming in to bat, Karthik said he has been practicing for such situations, playing in the IPL for Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Australia captain Aaron Finch said his team got "out-executed" in the match.
"You probably plan for 5 over games and add a little bit on to it. When you are doing all your planning for World Cups you always have them in the back of your mind. We just got out-executed a little bit towards the back end," Finch said in the post-match presentation ceremony.
He too praised Rohit Sharma was his brilliant innings but also singled out Axar Patel's bowling for pegging his team back on being asked to bat first.
"Rohit was brilliant. And the two overs Axar bowled was probably the difference in the game. (Matthew) Wade is such a calm customer at the back end of the innings. He did a wonderful job for us. We got close," Finch signed off.
Indeed, Patel made the difference for India as he halted Australia's charge by claiming two wickets in an over. But for his intervention, Australia would have managed to put in a bigger score and could have made things hander for India.
But in the end, Rohit made short work of the stiff target as he led India from the front to a memorable victory.