After an underwhelming stint in the T20 WC, India bounced back by whitewashing New Zealand in the 3-match T20I home series. On Sunday, India dismissed the WC finalists by a massive 73 runs in the conclusive match of the series in the Eden Gardens.
Captain Rohit Sharma, once again, led the team with his responsible batting to script the clean sweep. He, with his opening partner Ishan Kishan, added 69 runs before Kishan lost his wicket to Mitchell Santner. Sharma hit his 26th half-century in the match and ended up with 56 off 31 balls.
Santner, the left-arm spinner, gave India quite a hard time as he also picked up the wickets of both Suryakumar Yadav and Rishabh Pant before they could leave any impact in the match. Following Sharma’s dismissal by Ish Sodhi in the 12th over, India was just 103/4 in 12 overs.
However, the Iyer duo contributed 35 runs for the 5th wicket to keep the scoreboard moving while the late cameo of Harshal Patel and Deepak Chahar led India to a challenging score of 184 in 20 overs. Chahar bashed Adam Milne in the last over and treaded 19 runs. He finished with an unbeaten 8-ball 21 while Harshal remained not out at 18 off 11 balls.
In the second half of the match, the Indian bowling and fielding missed no chance to make the New Zealand chase more difficult. Even though Yuzvendra Chahal put down Martin Guptill (51 off 36 balls) in his second over, it was Axar Patel who proved to be the nemesis of the Kiwis.
Axar picked up three important wickets of Daryl Mitchell, Mark Chapman and Glenn Phillips in the powerplay ending New Zealand’s hope to register their single win in the series.
Talking about his team’s performance captain Sharma said, “We managed to restrict a batting lineup as strong as New Zealand’s to around 160 despite them making a good start in the powerplay in both those matches. Those matches could have gone anywhere considering how they started but we came back really well and restricted them. The spinners were great, Axar (Patel) and (Ravichandran) Ashwin did well and today (Yuzvendra) Chahal got a chance and he showed what he can do.”
However, coach Rahul Dravid refused to get overwhelmed by this series win against the Kiwis. “I think it was a really good series win. Everyone played well right through the series. It’s nice to start well but we are realistic and we need to keep our feet on the ground. It’s not easy for New Zealand to show up after a World Cup final and play three games in six days. We have to keep our feet on the ground and learn some things on the way forward,” he said, staying grounded.
India will now play the first match of the Test duo against New Zealand under the captaincy of Ajinkya Rahane starting from November 25 in Kanpur.
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