India beat New Zealand by 73 runs in the third and final T20I to win the three-match series 3-0 at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Sunday.
After opting to bat, Rohit Sharma struck 56 off 31 balls while Ishan Kishan made 29 off 21 balls as India posted 184/7. Martin Guptill’s 51 off 36 balls went in vain as New Zealand could only manage 111-all out in 17.2 overs. Left-arm spinner Axar Patel was the pick of the Indian bowlers with three wickets.
Earlier in the day, India put on a mammoth total of 184 after choosing to bat first, thanks to a fantastic fifty from Rohit Sharma and great cameos from Deepak Chahar and Harshal Patel in the end. Ishan Kishan, Shreyas Iyer and Venkatesh Iyer too made handy contributions.
With the three-match T20I series in the bag, India rested their key man KL Rahul ahead of the ICC World Test Championship matches against New Zealand. Replacing him, Ishan Kishan opened the innings alongside captain Rohit Sharma.
The two batters fired all cylinders to thrust India’s Powerplay score to 69/0. From the get-go, Rohit made his intentions clear with two consecutive boundaries off Trent Boult in the opening over.
Adam Milne and Lockie Ferguson went for aplenty from the other end as the India openers didn’t spare any loose ones. In Ferguson’s final over of the Powerplay, Kishan and Rohit tonked 3 fours and a six to garner 20 runs.
The New Zealand captain brought himself on right after the Powerplay and dented India’s effort immediately with the wicket of Ishan Kishan — edge and caught by wicketkeeper — departing for a 21-ball 29.
In the same over, Santner snared the scalp of Suryakumar Yadav who walked back for naught.
The boundaries dried out and the impact was felt once again. Rishabh Pant holed out to mid-on where Jimmy Neesham took a comfortable catch, becoming Santner’s third victim of the night.
Rohit Sharma brought up his second consecutive fifty but fell soon after to a blinder of a return catch from Ish Sodhi.
Shreyas Iyer and Venkatesh Iyer put on a quickfire 36-run partnership in just 27 balls but got out in a span of three balls.
Playing just his second game for India, Harshal Patel showed what he can do with the bat. Patel clobbered two fours and six, scoring 18 important runs in just 11 balls before he got out hit-wicket.
Deepak Chahar used the long handle of his bat in the final over as he smashed Milne for two fours and a six to take India to 184/7.
Once again, Martin Guptill got New Zealand off to a flier, smashing three boundaries in the first two overs. He was fortunate to be given a reprieve by Deepak Chahar, who spilled a skier off his own bowling in the second over.
With the pacers going for runs, Rohit Sharma brought Axar Patel and reaped immediate rewards. Off the very first ball, he dismissed Daryl Mitchell, luring the batter with a wide one.
Axar then beat Mark Chapman with spin as he charged down to the track but only caught air. Rishabh Pant showed great glovework to whip the bails off quickly to make it two wickets in an over for India.
The left-arm spinner got his third wicket in the next over, scalping Glenn Phillips who went for the switch hit but played all around it.
In the absence of Kane Williamson, the onus had been on Guptill throughout the series to bat through the innings. In the final game too, he was the lone warrior for New Zealand, with him being the only batter to cross the 20-run mark.
Despite losing partners at the other end, Guptill kept the scoreboard ticking with the occasional boundaries. He found good support in Tim Seifert and the two put on a 39-run partnership for the fourth wicket.
Guptill smashed Chahal for a six and a four in the ninth over before bringing up his fifty with a boundary. However, with the asking rate touching 12, Guptill had no choice but to take the bowlers on. Trying to hit Chahal for a maximum, he was beaten in flight and holed out at long-on.
Guptill’s wicket triggered a huge collapse as they lost the next five wickets for just 26 runs. Ishant Kishan affected two run-outs from the deep while Harshal Patel continued his good form with the ball and scalped two wickets. Venkatesh Iyer got in on the act as well and got his maiden international wicket.
Lockie Ferguson smashed a couple of sixes to delay the inevitable before Deepak Chahar finished the game off with a caught and bowled.