Thiruvananthapuram: India edged New Zealand by six runs to clinch the T20I series 2-1 after the decider was curtailed to eight overs per side due to a rain delay at the Sports Hub at Karyavattom here on Tuesday.
Sport can be unfair at times and one might wonder if justice was served to the capacity crowd at a stadium that was making its international debut, and to the teams that had deserved a proper showdown to decide the series, which India won 2-1.
With 19 required off the final over Colin de Grandhomme attempted a late rescue with a huge six but it wasn’t enough as Hardik Pandya conceded only 11 runs.
Earlier, India had managed to make the most of a slow, gripping wicket to post a fighting 67 for 5 with Manish Pandey top scoring 17 off 11.
A two-hour rain delay that reduced the match had promised fireworks from the off, but the Kiwi bowlers managed to restrict their hosts with regular breakthroughs.
Changes were natural after the pitch inspection was delayed by more than one-and-a-half hours from the scheduled 7 pm start and while Manish Pandey and Kuldeep Yadav were included by the hosts, Tim Southee made a surprise return after losing his spot to Adam Milne in Rajkot.
Incidentally, it was Southee who crippled India’s innings just as it was emerging. His penchant for bowing off-cutters proved decisive and after Shikhar Dhawan threw away his wicket, skying a slower delivery, Rohit Sharma was offered a short-ball, which was also gracefully gulped down by Santner.
Virat Kohli greeted Ish Sodhi with a punch that pierced deep-midwicket and long-on and he then launched the Ludhiana-born leggie straight over for the venue’s and the match’s maiden sixer. But the India skipper perished playing another big one the same over and Sodhi heaved a sigh of relief as Boult held on to a catch in the deep.
India: R. Sharma c Santner b Southee 8, S. Dhawan c Santner b Southee 6, V. Kohli c Boult b Sodhi 13, S. Iyer c Guptill b Sodhi 6, M. Pandey c de Grandhomme b Boult 17, H. Pandya (not out) 9, M.S. Dhoni (not out) 0. Extras: 3 (lb-2, w-1). Total: (for five wickets in eight overs) 67.
FoW: 1-15, 2-15, 3-30, 4-48, 5-62.
Bowling: T. Boult 1.2-0-8-1, M. Santner 2-0-16-0, T. Southee 2-0-13-2, I. Sodhi 2-0-23-2.
New Zealand: M. Guptill b Kumar 1, C. Munro c Sharma b Bumrah 7, K. Williamson run out (Pandya) 8, G. Phillips c Dhawan b Kuldeep Yadav 11, C de Grandhomme (not out) 17, H. Nicholls c Iyer b Bumrah 2, T. Bruce run out (Pandya/Dhoni) 4, M. Santner (not out) 3. Extras 8 (b-4, lb-1, w-3). Total: (for six wickets in eight overs) 61.
FoW: 1-8, 2-8, 3-28, 4-28, 5-39, 6-48.
Bowling: B. Kumar 2-0-18-1, J. Bumrah 2-0-9-2, Y. Chahal 2-0-8-0, Kuldeep Yadav 1-0-10-1, H. Pandya 1-0-11-0.