India make clean sweep of T20 series against NZ

Wednesday 24th November 2021 06:12 EST

India produced a clinical all-round performance to thrash New Zealand by 73 runs in the third and final T20 and complete a 3-0 clean sweep in the three-match series at the iconic Eden Gardens, in Kolkata on Sunday. A fantastic 50 by captain Rohit Sharma (56 off 31 balls) and some late charge by the lower-order powered India to a competitive 184/7 in 20 overs.

Apart from Rohit, Ishan Kishan (29), Venkatesh Iyer (20) and Shreyas Iyer (25) also got good starts but they failed to capitalise. Mitchell Santner (3/27) was the highest wicket-taker for the Kiwis.

In reply, Martin Guptill’s 50 (51 off 36 balls) went in vain as New Zealand were bowled out for 111 in 17.2 overs, losing by 73 runs. Tim Seifert (17) and Lockie Ferguson (14) also chipped in with the bat for the Kiwis but it wasn’t enough to save them from a huge loss. Axar Patel (3/9) was the most successful bowler for India. Opener Guptill was New Zealand’s second success story of the day after stand-in skipper Mitchell Santner. The left-arm spinner, who walked in at the toss in place of Tim Southee, finished with three for 27. More importantly, he applied the brakes when India seemed to be running away with the game.

For India, Sunday’s dead rubber was always going to be a platform to experiment and they did not disappoint. With Ishan Kishan walking in alongside Rohit to open the innings, another in-form player KL Rahul was being rested and an outstanding opening combination was being broken.

The Kishan experiment paid off as long as it lasted, which was the powerplay zone of six overs. Both Rohit and Kishan went after the bowlers, with the skipper smacking some delectable shots. Kishan too had his moments, although with not as much authority as his senior partner. The six overs following powerplay fetched 39 runs and cost India four wickets. Although the run-rate had plummeted, India still had enough on board, thanks to the blitz at the start. There were adequate reasons not to panic and more proof of the importance of a great start. The two Iyers – Shreyas and Venkatesh – scored briskly before Deepak Chahar’s cameo ensured India crossed the 180-mark to set up a challenging target.

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