New Zealand squandered yet another opportunity from a winning situation to succumb to another loss – a seven-run defeat – as India completed a dominating 5-0 series sweep at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui on Sunday. India now have achieved their first T20I series sweep in New Zealand, who have now lost 23 matches at home in T20Is – the joint most alongside Sri Lanka.
Chasing a tricky 164, New Zealand were in trouble at 17/3 after Jasprit Bumrah and Washington Sundar struck early to see the back of Martin Guptill (2) and Colin Munro (15) respectively. However, the experienced Ross Tayor, playing his 100th T20I, combined with wicketkeeper-batsman Tim Seifert as the duo stitched a 99-run partnership for the fourth wicket. The Blackcaps needed a huge over and it came in the 10th bowled by Shivam Dube, who conceded a mind-boggling 34 runs.
That over got the hosts back into the match. However, New Zealand once again collapsed. From 116/4 when Seifert departed to Navdeep Saini after a well-played fifty, New Zealand stumbled to 133/8 after the resistance of Taylor ended at 53 off 47, his innings helped with five boundaries and two huge sixes.
New Zealand ended at 156/9 at the end of 20 overs as India completed a clinical whitewash.
For India, Bumrah led the charge picking up three wickets in his four overs being as stingy as ever going for just 12 runs. Shardul Thakur and Navdeep Saini picked two wicket each.
Earlier, stand-in skipper Rohit Sharma battled a calf injury on way to his 60 off 41 balls before retiring hurt as India managed 163 for three. Batting at No. 3, Rohit was retired hurt after injuring his left calf whilst hitting a six and walked off the field in discomfort. He faced 41 balls and hit three fours as well as three sixes.
This was after India won the toss and opted to bat. Virat Kohli was expectedly rested, with Rohit coming in, and it was the only change for India from Wellington. Rishabh Pant was ignored once again. For New Zealand, Kane Williamson didn’t recover on time and Tim Southee led the side once again.
Despite Rohit’s return, Sanju Samson (2) continued to open the innings and it didn’t work again. Yet another opportunity went abegging as he hit straight to extra cover and was out for two runs.
KL Rahul (45) and the Mumbai batsman then added 88 runs for the second wicket, providing vital momentum to the Indian innings. The in-form duo dominated the Black Caps’ attack and put on 50 off just 35 balls. Rahul hit four fours and two sixes in his 33-ball stay. He fell in the 12th over against the run of play and finished with 224 runs in the series, the most for an Indian batsman in any bilateral T20I series.
Rohit scored his 25th T20I half-century off 35 balls. He looked to accelerate but then injured himself in the 17th over and retired. The loss of both Rahul and Sharma impacted the Indian innings, and they lost all momentum on a slowing wicket.
Shreyas Iyer smacked 33 off 31 balls, including a four and two sixes, but couldn’t push the score past the 170-mark. Manish Pandey scored 11 not out off four balls, with a four and a six.
Brief scores: India 163/3 in 20 overs (Rohit Sharma retd hurt 63, KL Rahul 45; Scott Kuggeleijn 2/25) beat New Zealand 156/9 (Ross Taylor 53, Tim Seifert 50; Jasprit Bumrah 3/12, Navdeep Saini 2/23, Shardul Thakur 2/38) in 20 overs by 7 runs