Updated: Aug 20, 2019
Hamilton embraces another run-feast, New Zealand take home series by a narrow margin
After Wellington's eye-opener and Auckland's thriller, the caravan moved to Hamilton for the series-decider. Both the teams had one win under the sleeve and were equally eager to claim the series. Where New Zealand were aiming to bounce back from the ODI disappointment, India wanted to add another feather to the cap. Having set their priorities upfront, the final T20I was expected to be a cracker of a game.
As it happened
On a flat Hamilton deck, Rohit Sharma invited Blackaps to bat first. A brilliant decision considering the pressure of the final, flatness of the wicket and shorter boundaries. Last T20I played here between England and New Zealand, produced over 380 runs. Today was no exception.
Tim Seifert and Collin Munro, New Zealand openers started the innings with a confidence and authority. Their early attack from both the ends made sure Blackcaps got a flying start. Siefert (43), Skipper Kane Williamson (27) and Colin de Grandhomme (30) chipped in very well while on another end Munro (72) was dismantling the Indian bowling attack.
Kuldeep Yadav (2/26) was the only standout performer for India who to some extent, was able to put the brakes on NZ juggernaut. Nevertheless, NZ put on a stunning show and succeeded in setting a daunting target of 212.
In response, India lost Shikhar Dhawan (5) who's been struggling with his form this tour, in the first over and put India under pressure. But, skipper Rohit Sharma and Vijay Shankar sensibly built the innings (75 runs partnership) and put it on the track before Mitchell Santner struck a second time in his third over.
India lost well-settled Vijay Shankar (43) but not the momentum. However, a bunch of little cameos from Rishabh Pant (28) and Hardik Pandya (21) always kept India in the hunt. Six-wicket down and required run-rate touching 13 rpo in last 5 overs, any team in the world would be doubtful of their abilities to conquer the situation. But, not the Indian team as they bat deep. Dinesh Karthik (33*) and Krunal Pandya (26*) chose to fight rather than give up to the situation.
However, India couldn't stand a chance against Tim Southee's perfect yorkers in the final over and just fell four runs short of the target. Nonetheless, they kept the buzzing Hamilton crowd on their toes till the last moment. India were outstanding throughout the series but New Zealand had the last laugh. They claimed the series 2-1.
Under Rohit Sharma's captaincy, it was the first occasion when India lost a series. Prior to this series, Rohit Sharma had led India in seven series across both ODIs and T20Is. It was also India's first bilateral T20I series loss after 10 consecutive series win which includes 1-1 draw against Australia.
Brief Scores: New Zealand - 212/4 in 20 overs (Colin Munro 72, Tim Seifert 43, Kuldeep Yadav 2/26)
India - 208/6 in 20 overs (Vijay Shankar 43, Rohit Sharma 38, Daryl Mitchell 3/27)