THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Buoyed by brilliant fielding and economic spells from Jasprit Bumrah and Yuzvendra Chahal, India defeated New Zealand by six runs on Tuesday to clinch the T20 series 2-1.
New Zealand required 68 to win the rain-affected match that was cut short to eight overs per side, but their innings came to a grinding halt at 61 after Indian bowlers choked their batsmen.
New Zealand’s chances hinged on the in-form Colin Munro, who scored a ton in the previous match.
Munro revealed his intentions on the second ball of the innings, hitting it over deep mid-wicket for six.
However, Kumar made a comeback cleaning up Martin Guptill. Indians soon got the big wicket of Munro, as Bumrah forced him into a false shot. It was the opening India were looking for after it appeared that they were 10-20 short of the ideal total.
Kane Williamson tried to steal a runoff Kuldeep Yadav, but Hardik Pandya at mid-wicket ran him out. The total was 28/3 and with Chahal keeping the batters on a tight leash, Kiwis lost the plot in the middle overs. Halfway through, they needed 42 in 4 overs. Another tight over by Bumrah, the seventh of the innings, left New Zealand with the difficult task of scoring 19 from the last over.
Earlier, sent in to bat on a pitch that appeared slow, India had to score quickly to post a healthy target against a team full of big-hitters. Shikhar Dhawan started in style with a boundary off Trent Boult but didn’t last long. Tim Southee sent back Rohit Sharma next ball. Santner at deep square-leg again had a role to play as he dived forward to pluck the catch inches off the ground.
Skipper Virat Kohli showed urgency and hit back-to-back four and six off Ish Sodhi. But the leg-spinner had the last laugh as he got Kohli. The skipper’s attempted heave lacked power and ended up in the hands of Boult at deep mid-wicket.
Shreyas Iyer too fell trying to hit Sodhi out of the park. Manish Pandey injected vigor into the innings by clobbering Sodhi over the long-on boundary. Southee was the pick of the bowlers scalping two for 13, while Sodhi took two for 23.
Despite the meteorological department’s forecast of an evening shower, the fans had swarmed the stadium in huge numbers wearing the customary blue. The mood was upbeat in the beginning, but with drizzles continuing, the stands went silent. However, the rain stopped at around 8 pm, enabling the fans to witness the return of international cricket to Thiruvananthapuram after 29 years.
I ndia (8 overs a side): Rohit c Santner b Southee 8, Dhawan c Santner b Southee 6, Kohli c Boult b Sodhi 13, Iyer c Guptill b Sodhi 6, Pandey c de Grandhomme b Boult 17, Pandya n.o 14, Dhoni n.o 0.
Extras: 3 (LB 2, W 1).
Total: 67 (for 5 wickets in 8 overs).
FoW: 1-15, 2-15, 3-30, 4-48, 5-62.
Bowling: Boult 2-0-13-1, Santner 2-0-16-0, Southee 2-0-13-2, Sodhi 2-0-23-2.
New Zealand: Guptill b Bhuvneshwar 1, Munro c Sharma b Bumrah 7, Williamson run out 8, Phillips c Shikhar b Kuldeep 11, De Grandhomme n.o 17, Nicholls c Iyer b Bumrah 2, Bruce run out 4, Santner n.o 3.
Extras: 8 (B 4, LB 1, W 3).
Total: (for 6 wickets in 8 overs) 61.
FoW: 1-8, 2-8, 3-28, 4-28, 5-39, 6-48.
Bowling: Bhuvneshwar 2-0-18-1, Bumrah 2-0-9-2, Chahal 2-0-8-0, Kuldeep Yadav 1-0-10-1, Pandya 1-0-11-0.