India defeated New Zealand in the third T20 international to take a 3-0 lead in the five-match series in Hamilton on Wednesday. It was indeed a special moment for all Indian team fans as the Virat Kohli-led side sealed a series for the first time in New Zealand.
This time, it was India’s star opener Rohit Sharma who took his side over the line. After being sent into bat, India posted a competitive 179 for five at Seddon Park, thanks to Rohit, who top-scored for India with a 40-ball 65. Skipper Kohli also played a handy knock of 38 runs.
In reply, the Kiwis started pretty well and reached 47 before Shardul Thakur drew the first blood in the form of Martin Guptill (31). Soon after, another opener Colin Munro (14), fell in the spin trap of Ravindra Jadeja and got stumped out by KL Rahul behind the wickets.
Kane Williamson stood at one end and kept on adding runs on the scoreboard. He smashed a 48-ball 95 to take his team to the edge of victory but got out in the last over of the innings bowled by Mohammad Shami. The contest went to the last ball where Blackcaps needed one run to win, but they failed to do so, and the match tied.
It was now the turn of Super Over where New Zealand scored 17, which India chased down on the final ball. Rohit smashed Tim Southee for two consecutive sixes to seal the match and the series for India.
After the match, Virat also credited his deputy Rohit Sharma and India pacer Mohammed Shami for pulling off a stunning win when he thought that India’s chances in the match were fading.
“I thought we were gone at one stage. I told our coach that they deserved to win. On the last ball, we had a discussion and we came to the conclusion that we had to hit the stumps. Rohit was superb for us. When Shami bowled those two dot balls, I thought we can go to super over,” Kohli said in the post-match presentation ceremony on Wednesday.
Now that India has won their maiden T20I series in New Zealand, Virat Kohli also hinted that players like Navdeep Saini and Washington Sundar, who have been sitting out, will get a game in the upcoming matches.
“Shami went for it, got the wicket and the game turned on his head. In the super over, New Zealand again put pressure on us. But Rohit was outstanding today, in the first half and in the super over. ”
“We knew, if he gets one hit, bowler will be under pressure because he is such a clean striker of the cricket ball. Overall a top day for us and a beautiful game to be a part of. When Shami bowled those two dot balls, I thought we could probably go to super over, if we get a wicket.”
The fourth T20 international between the two sides will be played on Friday (Jan 31) in Wellington.