Hamilton: Player of the Match Rohit Sharma slammed consecutive sixes in the final two balls of the thrilling Super Over, leading India to their maiden T20 series win in New Zealand following a nail biting finish in the third match here Wednesday.
Needing 18 off the Super Over, India had managed just 10 off the first four balls. Then, Sharma slammed two big hits, first over mid-wicket and the other over long-off, to help India pull off a nail-biter. Tim Southee bowled the Super Over for New Zealand.
Before the Super Over, hosts New Zealand had it all under control with two runs needed off four balls and six wickets in hand to overhaul India’s 179 for five. However, they threw the chance away from a comfortable position as Mohammad Shami bowled a brilliant death over to tie the game, taking it to a Super Over. It also brought back memories of the 2019 World Cup final which New Zealand agonizingly lost to England on boundary count. Wednesday was also not any different.
New Zealand captain Kane Williamon did all he could, both in the run chase (95, 48b, 8×4, 6×6) and the Super Over (11), but it did not prove to be enough to get his team over the line in a must-win game.
It was Williamson’s highest T20 score as the Black Caps scored 179-6 (20 overs) in reply to India’s 179-5 (20 overs).
India’s first T20 series in New Zealand came after a 1-2 loss to the Black Caps almost 12 months ago.
The match couldn’t have been any more thrilling as it had the spectators on the edge of their seats.
Jasprit Bumrah who proved expensive on the night went for 11 runs in the penultimate over. Shami (2/32) conceded a six off the first ball of the 20th but then removed both Williamson and bowled Ross Taylor (17 off 10 balls) in the next five balls to snatch a tie.
In the ensuing Super Over, Williamson and Martin Guptill combined for 17 runs with two fours and a six as Bumrah’s off night continued. In response, Sharma and KL Rahul did the needful for India with aplomb.
Chasing 180, New Zealand started well with Guptill (31, 21b, 2×4, 3×6) and Colin Munro (14) putting on 47 for the opening stand.
Guptill smacked two fours and three sixes, but was also the first to go, caught in the deep off Shardul Thakur (2/21) in the sixth over. It became a double blow as Ravindra Jadeja (1/23) had Munro stumped four balls later.
Mitchell Santner (9) was promoted up the order, but it was Williamson who provided momentum to the innings with a timing and placement master class.
Santner went cheaply, and then Colin de Grandhomme (5) struck around to add 49 runs with Williamson with the Kiwi skipper doing most of the scoring. New Zealand crossed 150 in the 17th over and were on course for a surprising win.
Earlier, Rohit (65, 40b, 6×4, 3×6) came good after missing out in the twin Auckland T20Is. He put on 89 runs for the first wicket with KL Rahul (27, 19b, 2×4, 1×6).
This was after New Zealand won a third straight toss, but opted to field this time around. The hosts made one change with Scott Kuggeleijn coming in for Blair Tickner. India remained unchanged for the second game running.
Rohit and Rahul then teed off immediately as New Zealand bowlers struggled to come to terms with the slow pace of the Seddon Park pitch.
Rahul fell to Colin de Grandhomme (1/13) to end the exhilarating opening stand. Shivam Dube (3) was promoted to No.3 but the move didn’t work out. He was out after facing a laborious seven deliveries, which also sucked momentum out of the Indian innings.
The pressure told at the other end as Rohit was dismissed off Bennett as well. India lost three wickets for seven runs in the space of three overs.
Skipper Virat Kohli (38, 27b, 2×4, 1×6) and Shreyas Iyer (17) then tried to resurrect the innings with 46-run partnership for the fourth wicket. Manish Pandey (14 n o) and Jadeja (10 n o) pushed the score past 170 but India fell well short of a 200-plus score the openers had set up.
Brief scores: India 179 for 5 (Rohit Sharma 65, Virat Kohli 38, Hamish Bennet 3/54); New Zealand 179 for 6 (Kane Williamson 95, Martin Guptill 31, Mohammed Shami 2/32, Ravi Jadeja 1/23). Match tied and Super Over implemented.
Super Over sequence:
Jasprit Bumrah: Williamson takes 1, Guptill takes 1, Williamson goes over the ropes 6, Williamson slams 4, 1 bye, Guptill scores 4.
Time Southee: Rohit takes 2, Rohit takes 1, Rahul slams 4, Rahul takes 1, Rohit smashes 6, Rohit clobbers 6.