Stand-in skipper Rohit Sharma and opener KL Rahul played a key hand to help India post 163/3 against New Zealand in the 5th T20I at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui. Rahul hit a 33-ball 45 and Sharma was 60*off 41 balls before being retired hurt, allowing New Zealand to pull things back. New Zealand’s discipline could be estimated from the fact that India scored just 79 in the last ten overs.
With India resting Virat Kohli, Rohit won the toss and opted to bat. The visitors did not get off to a good start as Sanju Samson departed early for two off five balls – his extravagant cover-drive find Mitchell Santner at covers. With India on the back foot early, Rohit joined Rahul and the two stitched an 88-run stand for the second wicket which kept India going.
The partnership was snapped by Bennett as Santner held on to a leading edge off Rahul’s bat. Shreyas Iyer got off the mark with a boundary but struggled thereafter. With Santner and Ish Sodhi bowling in tandem, New Zealand slipped in a few tight overs to keep India quiet. The shackles were broken by Iyer, who went inside out off Santner for a maximum, followed by Rohit’s two humongous sixes. A four through midwicket brought up Rohit’s fifty.
With India aiming big in the last five, Rohit injured his left calf trying to sneak a single. After getting back and hitting a six, Rohit left the field the next ball. Shivam Dube hit a boundary but his short stay came to an end when he was dismissed by Kuggeleijn. Manish Pandey struck 11 off four balls to get India over 160, while Iyer remained unbeaten on 33 off 31.
Brief Scores: India – 163/3 in 20 overs (KL Rahul 45, Rohit Sharma 60* Rtd Hurt; Scott Kuggeleijn 3/25) vs New Zealand.