- India failed to chase down 213 runs vs New Zealand in the 3rd T20I
- Vijay Shankar was India’s top scorer with 43
- Daryl Mitchell was New Zealand’s best bowler and returned with figures of 2/27
Brief Score – New Zealand (212/4) beat India (208/6) by 4 runs to clinch 3-match series 2-1. Shankar (43), Mitchell (2/27), Santner (2/32).
India failed to chase down a 200 plus total for the second time in four days and lost the T20I series to New Zealand 1-2. Set 213 to win the decider in Hamilton, India managed 208 thanks to a spirited bowling effort from New Zealand.
India suffered a setback early when Shikhar Dhawan departed for 5. Vijay Shankar was promoted up the order at No.3 once again and he did not disappoint: he outscored Rohit Sharma and raced away to 43 to set up the chase for India. However, his wicket at a crucial juncture of the match allowed the Black Caps to bounce back.
Rishabh Pant, who had played a watchful and mature knock under the guidance of MS Dhoni on Friday, came out all guns blazing and rattled New Zealand with a flurry of sixes. But like Vijay, Pant fell at a critical stage in the chase. Rohit Sharma, meanwhile, had been kept in check; India’s stand-in captain was perhaps waiting to explode later and he watched Hardik Pandya get off to a flier.
But Hardik’s dismissal brought more pressure on India and it was time for Rohit to start attacking. When the skipper fell for 38, it was almost as good as over for India.
However, there was a semblance of hope woth MS Dhoni and Dinesh Karthik in the middle. Playing his 300th T20 cricket match, Dhoni fell to Daryl Mitchell for 2 after playing an uncharacteristic shot early in his innings.
Krunal Pandya came out to join Dinesh Karthik in the middle with the required run rate climbing steadily. It was too much of an ask against a disciplined New Zealand attack but Karthik wasn’t going to go down without a fight.
Earlier, Colin Munro had led a spirited charge with the bat for New Zealand. He and Tim Seifert added 80 for the opening wicket before the latter fell for 43.
Munro top scored with 72 and useful contributions from Kane Williamson and Colin de Grandhomme helped New Zealand post their second 200 plus total of the series.
Kuldeep Yadav, who replaced Yuzvendra Chahal for the decider, was India’s best bowler on Sunday. He picked up 2 for 27 off his 4 overs but there was no real support from the other bowlers. The Pandya brothers went for 98 runs off 8 overs while Bhuvneshwar Kumar Khaleel Ahmed conceded 37 and 47 runs off their 4 overs, respectively.
Despite the defeat in the T20I series, India will be happy with their overseas journey which started in 2018 with the tour of South Africa.
Over the last year, India won an ODI and T20I series in South Africa, T20I series in Ireland and England, Test and ODI series in Australia and an ODI series in New Zealand.
Colin Munro adjudged man-of-the-match
“Touch and go there until the final minute. India – you get one good batsman, another one comes along. The boys did a really good job of finishing off the really good Indian batsmen. Didn’t really focus on trying to do anything different, tried to put pressure back on the bowlers. Just came out nice and free, had a bit of luck, which you certainly need in this match.”
Tim Seifert adjudged Player of the Series
“Great to have a performance like that, but it’s great to get a victory, particularly a last-minute one like that. Great to have batted with Colin Munro. It’s awesome in my hometown, that the crowd have come out in full support – hopefully, they do so for the SuperSmash final as well.”
Rohit Sharma speaks at the post-match presentation
“Pretty disappointing to not get to the finishing line. 210-odd was always going to be tough, and we were in the game right till the end, but New Zealand held their nerve well and they deserved to win. We started off well in the ODIs, and the boys will be disappointed not getting to the finishing line in the T20s. Lots of positives, and a few mistakes, so there’s a lot of material to move ahead. It would have been nice to win the series and go home and play Australia, but unfortunately we couldn’t do that.”