Team India has sealed the T20I series after a clinical all-rounder performance from the team. The Rohit Sharma-led side secured victory by seven wickets with 16 balls to spare to take a 2-0 lead.
India got off to a splendid start as KL Rahul dominated the proceedings in the beginning by leading the run-chase. Chasing down the total of 154, the duo chipped in 45 runs in the powerplay. Soon, even Rohit Sharma shifted the gears and brought the attacking game to the fore. New Zealand’s bowlers toiled hard to get back in the game but the Indian openers took the charge of the match as they stitched in a partnership of 117 runs.
New Zealand finally got their first breakthrough as KL Rahul (65) looked to hit it big off Tim Southee’s slower ball but was caught by Glenn Phillips. The Black Caps’ stand-in skipper then scalped two wickets in an over sending back Sharma and Suryakumar Yadav who had just walked into the field.
However, the job was almost done for India then as the run rate was well in control. With two giant sixes, Rishabh Pant concluded the match in the 18th over as India registered a handsome victory.
India’s bowlers put up a clinical display to the fore
Earlier, after winning the toss, Rohit Sharma elected to bowl first in the first T20I at the JSCA International Stadium Complex, Ranchi. New Zealand’s openers provided the team with a steady start. Martin Guptil surpassed Virat Kohli in the list of highest run-scorers in T20Is. He brought up a dominating show to the display by taking on India’s pace bowlers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Deepak Chahar in the powerplay.
Chahar however made a comeback by scalping the wicket of Guptill in the fifth over. He bowled a short delivery which the batter looked to pull but was caught by Rishabh Pant. Daryl Mitchell and Mark Chapman then took the mantle to keep the momentum going. However, Axar Patel then chimed in with the prized wicket of the dangerous-looking Mark Chapman. Soon, India’s pacer Harshal Patel clinched his maiden international wicket as he showed Daryl Mitchell (31) the way back to the hut.
Though India conceded many runs in the powerplay, the bowlers helped the team to take command of the game. Tim Seifert looked to reverse sweep but was trapped by Ravi Ashwin. Debutant Harshal then yet again struck with a wicket sending Glenn Phillips back with 34 runs to his account. The bowlers pulled things back in the middle overs as New Zealand was restricted to 153 runs despite an electric start and the score was never going to be enough.
New Zealand – 153/6 after 20 overs (G Phillips 34; H Patel 2/25)
India – 155/3 after 17.2 overs (KL Rahul 65, R Sharma 55; T Southee 3/16)
Result – India won by seven wickets.