The highlight was three consecutive sixes struck in the 16th over off Nathan Coulter-Nile, who up until that point had been the tourists’ best bowler.
Dhoni, criticised in his homeland for batting conservatively in the first T20 that Australia won, hammered three sixes off D’Arcy Short in his 23-ball knock of 40.
Australia, who stuck with an unchanged XI and opted to bowl in their pursuit of a maiden T20 series win over India, were reeling early as KL Rahul rocketed his team to 0-61 after seven overs.
As was the case in Vizag, where the hosts stumbled from 1-69 in the ninth over to finish 7-126 and ultimately lose a final-ball thriller, momentum shifted.
Rahul’s dismissal, steering a short ball form Coulter-Nile straight to Jhye Richardson at third man, was followed by that of Shikhar Dhawan and Rishabh Pant.
But on this occasion, Kohli and Dhoni launched a stunning counter-attack.
Australia have never defeated India in a T20 series, at home or abroad, with their best effort being victory in a one-off T20 at the MCG in 2008.
Aaron Finch’s team also haven’t won a limited-overs series since the Cape Town cheating scandal.
The visitors hold a 1-0 lead in what is a two-game series, having prevailed when Pat Cummins hit the winning runs.
The rivals start a five-match ODI series in Hyderabad on Saturday.