India secured the T20I series by defeating New Zealand in a thriller at Hamilton as Rohit Sharma smashed two sixes in a row to guide his team to victory in a Super Over.The tourists posted a score of 179/5 in their innings, which looked to be under par. Sharma scored a half-century for Virat Kohli’s men, but no one else was able to rise to the occasion as even the India skipper himself was dismissed for 38.Martin Guptill put the Black Caps on course in their chase, while after he was dismissed Kane Williamson took control. The New Zealand captain was outstanding as he guided his team singlehandedly to within sight of victory to keep the series alive.
However, requiring only two runs from the final four deliveries of the innings, the home side somehow failed to get over the line due to the brilliance of Mohammed Shami. Not for the first time involving New Zealand in recent months, a Super Over was required to decide the contest.
The Black Caps put a decent score of 17 on the board, which left India needing 18 to win. Tim Southee looked to have done enough, but Sharma bludgeoned the final two balls for six to deliver the victory for the tourists. With momentum on their side, India will now look for their fourth win on the bounce as they head towards a whitewash of the home side.
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New Zealand did make changes for the third match of the series, being without their senior bowlers Trent Boult, Lockie Ferguson and Matt Henry. Blair Tickner was dropped for the contest and was replaced by Scott Kuggeleijn. The change appeared to work as the paceman enjoyed a solid spell of two overs, conceding only 10 runs and perhaps should have bowled more in the game. Hamish Bennett showed signs of progress in the wicket column and should retain his place even if he was expensive, conceding 54 runs from his four overs. There are not a lot of options for Kane Williamson to turn to in the seam department, placing further pressure on his spinners. Mitchell Santner was dependable, but the Black Caps are going to need more from leg-spinner Ish Sodhi. He was economical, although entering the wicket column will make a huge difference for the hosts.
India will feel that they were slightly fortunate to escape with a victory from Hamilton. Even Kohli admitted that they were down and out at one point, especially in the final over of the New Zealand innings. However, they proved their mettle when it mattered the most to pull off the win. There should not be a great deal of change to their side for the next contest, despite having secured the series. Shivam Dube failed to make the most of his opportunity after being promoted to number three in the order, while Shreyas Iyer scored only 17. Sanju Samson could come into the fold to replace either of the batsmen. Kohli has been quiet in the series to date, but he will have a match-winning performance in him sooner rather than later.
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The weather is not going to be an issue at Wellington on Friday as the forecast predicts a cloudy day, with temperatures ranging from 23°c during the afternoon to 18°c at night. It should be a pleasant day and the conditions should not favour one side over the other. The only difference could be cloud cover for the seam bowlers, although with the white ball it should not be too influential. There will be a fresh pitch in Wellington therefore the ball should come on to the bat nicely.
The heart-breaking nature of their loss will haunt New Zealand yet again. It was almost a carbon copy of their defeat to England in the final of the 50-over World Cup. The Black Caps were in place to win the game, but they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Williamson was exceptional, but he lost his composure at the vital time to cost his team. India were ruthless when they needed to be and put New Zealand to the sword.
The tourists were below par in the contest, especially Bumrah with the ball, who will not have many worse days than he did in Hamilton. If New Zealand were unable to get over the line when they played well and India were average, it raises the question how can they record a victory? After wrapping up the series, Kohli and his team will be looking for the whitewash to build momentum ahead of the T20 World Cup. The tourists are rounding into form and will be determined to keep their winning run alive.
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Jasprit Bumrah had a rare poor outing at Hamilton in the third match of the series. He conceded 45 runs from his four overs. Back him to bounce at Wellington to lead the wicket column for India in Wellington at odds of 9/4 with Betway.
Jasprit Bumrah to be India’s top batsman – 9/4 with Betway
|All Rounders||Scott Kuggeleijn|