BENGALURU (Reuters) – Glenn Maxwell smashed his third Twenty20 international hundred to make short work of a steep target and guide Australia to a seven-wicket win over India that sealed a 2-0 away series victory on Wednesday.
Chasing 191 for victory, Maxwell hit his ninth six and seventh four in consecutive deliveries to bring up the winning runs for his side with two balls remaining, staying unbeaten after a 55-ball knock of 113.
India captain Virat Kohli hit an unbeaten 38-ball 72 to anchor the hosts to 190-4 after Australia skipper Aaron Finch won the toss and opted to bat.
But with the in-form Maxwell, who hit 56 in the opening win at Visakhapatnam on Sunday, on song on an easy batting surface the target never really looked out of Australia’s reach.
In the last match, the dismissal of the 30-year-old Maxwell triggered Australia’s batting collapse before the team were left needing to scored 14 in the last over for a tense three-wicket win on the final delivery.
He played a rash shot to get out that day but was more risk averse while batting on Wednesday to see his side home and enhance his chances of making the squad for this year’s 50-over World Cup.
Australia lost Marcus Stoinis and Finch early but Maxwell then added 73 with D’Arcy Short, who made 40, for the third wicket and then another unbroken 99-run stand for the fourth with Peter Handscomb to make the chase seem easy.
Handscomb remained unbeaten on 20.
Earlier, Kohli hit half a dozen sixes, three of them coming in consecutive deliveries from Australia paceman Nathan Coulter-Nile, and two fours in his knock.
The stylish right-handed batsman added 100 for the fourth wicket with former captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who made 40 off 23 balls.
Dhoni had faced criticism for his inability to hit big shots during India’s loss in the first T20 and looked determined to take the attack to the bowlers from the onset.
The 37-year-old hit three fours and an equal number of sixes in his knock.
Lokesh Rahul once again made good use of his opportunity by getting India off to a strong start with a 26-ball 47 after regular opener Rohit Sharma was rested.
Rahul had scored 50 in the first T20 after opening the innings in place of Shikhar Dhawan, who struggled during his knock of 14 off 24 balls on Wednesday on his return to the side.
The sides will next play a five-match one-day international series, starting in Hyderabad on Saturday.
(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Toby Davis)