Rohit, Axar, Harshal shine as India beat New Zealand and clean sweep the T20I series
India 184 for 7 in 20 overs (Rohit 56; Ishan 29; Santner 3/27) defeats New Zealand 111 all out in 17.2 overs (Guptill 51, Tim Seifert 17; Axar Patel 3/9, Harshal Patel 2/26) by 73 runs
India walked into the clash after attaining an unassailable lead in the series by 2-0, defeating the Kiwis in the first two matches in Jaipur and Ranchi, respectively. The Kiwis took the field with Mitchell Santner at the helm in Tim Southee’s absence, looking to turn the tide for themselves and ending the underwhelming series on a winning note.
An opportune Rohit Sharma started off the match on a high note, having won the toss and sending the Mitchell Santner-led team to field first.
Rohit Sharma-Ishan Kishan give India terrific start
The Mumbai Indians opening pair - Ishan Kishan and Rohit Sharma - opened the Indian innings in the absence of KL Rahul who was rested for the game. The new opening pair for India got off to a terrific start with the skipper smacking Trent Boult for 8 runs in the first over. On the other end, Ishan Kishan too joined the wagon and smacked 10 runs in the very next over.
The duo further targetted the NZ pacers Lockie Ferguson and Adam Milne along with Trent Boult for over 10 runs per over. The carnage by the duo was duly felt in the NZ camp as India’s score crossed 50 runs with still an over left in the powerplay. The 6th over was the most productive powerplay over for India, when both Rohit and Kishan plundered 20 runs off Lockie Ferguson’s over.
India’s scorecard raced to 69 for no loss after 6 overs, with both the openers laying the foundation for a big total.
NZ bounce back after powerplay
The Indian team lost the first wicket just after the completion of the powerplay. NZ skipper Mitchell Santner broke the partnership by dismissing Ishan Kishan who was batting on 29 runs when the latter edged Santner’s ball to the wicketkeeper, Tim Seifert. In the same over, Santner dismissed the new batter Suryakumar Yadav for a duck and seemingly snatched the momentum from the Indian team.
Santner struck for his third scalp and trapped Rishabh Pant at long-on for a paltry 4 runs off 6 deliveries. Santner single-handedly tilted the game in NZ’s favor as Indian batters could manage only 21 runs from the 7th-10th over. India’s score read 90/3 after 10 overs, with skipper Rohit Sharma and Shreyas Iyer batting on 48* runs and 5* runs, respectively.
Rohit Sharma reached his 26th fifty in the 11th over with a boundary off his counterpart, Santner while India’s score also crossed the 100-run mark.
Unfortunately, his innings didn’t last long as he departed caught & bowled by Ish Sodhi in the 12th over after scoring 56 runs. India’s score was 108/4 after 12 over with new batter Venkatesh Iyer and Shreyas Iyer on the crease. They added 36 runs for the sixth wicket before Trent Boult struck with his first breakthrough. He dismissed Venkatesh Iyer who was batting at 20 runs. Lower-order batters Harshal Patel and Deepak Chahar added 39 runs to the tally and helped India post 184/7 in 20 overs.
Axar Patel rattles NZ’s top-order in powerplay
Chasing 185 runs, Daryl Mitchell and Martin Guptill came to the middle and got NZ off to a good start. Guptill started the NZ innings with a boundary off Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s delivery in the opening over. The second over, being the most fruitful one of the powerplay, yielded NZ 16 runs wherein Guptill hit a six and a boundary, and survived following a dropped catch from Deepak Chahar.
However, the Indian team got the first breakthrough of the game when Axar Patel came in and dismissed Daryl Mitchell. Mitchell departed after scoring 5 runs following a lofted drive that landed in the hands of Harshal Patel. Axar got the second breakthrough in the same over following a stumping that sent back new batter Mark Chapman for a duck.
Axar continued with his onslaught on the NZ innings with his third wicket of the game by dismissing new batter Glenn Phillips for a duck in the 5th over. As a result, NZ only managed 37/3 at the end of the powerplay.
NZ bundled out after Guptill’s half-century
Martin Guptill, however, led the fight and kept the NZ innings on track with a lone battle against the Indian bowlers. He attacked Yuzvendra Chahal for 16 runs along with Tim Seifert in the 9th over and took the NZ total cross the 50-run mark. After three quick wickets from Axar, it seemed that the Indian team would bundle out NZ for a low score. However, Guptill defied all the odds against his team and went on to score his 19th fifty in T20Is.
Unfortunately, he departed in the 11th over after scoring 51 runs in trying to clear Yuzvendra Chahal’s delivery for a six and fended the ball to Suryakumar Yadav at long-on.
NZ’s score was 70/4 after 11 overs with new batters James Neesham and Tim Seifert at the crease.
Following Guptill’s dismissal, NZ suffered two run-outs, those of Neesham (3) and Seifert (17) amid the piling required run-rate. No other batter showed grit and seemed to put up a fight as they got bowled out for 111 runs in 17.2 overs. The Indian bowlers put up a clinical and tight display of cricket and helped their side win by 73 runs to effect a 3-0 whitewash against the T20 WC runners-up.
IND vs NZ – Player of the Match
Axar Patel became the player of the match following his match-turning spell with a three-wicket haul. He dismissed NZ’s top-order batters in the powerplay and finished with 3/9 in the three overs he bowled.
IND vs NZ - Player of the Series
Rohit Sharma lifted the player of the series for leading the side from the front. He scored two half-centuries and 48 runs in the 1st T20I match. He also finished as the highest run-scorer of the series with 159 runs in three matches. Under his captaincy, India also whitewashed NZ in the T20I series.
IND vs NZ - Facts and Stats
It was the second time India white-washed NZ in a T20I series. The last time was during the New Zealand tour in 2020 when they clinched the series 5-0.
Rohit Sharma now has 150 sixes in the T20Is, the highest by an Indian batter in T20Is.
India now have the most number (6) of series whitewashes in the T20Is.
Rohit Sharma has the most (thrice) series whitewash wins in T20Is as skipper, followed by Virat Kohli (twice) and MS Dhoni (once).
India now have eight consecutive series wins against NZ in T20Is.
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