Hamilton: So close, yet so far.
That perfectly sums up how close India came to winning the three-match T20I series, that would have also seen them become the first side to win a series in the shortest format on New Zealand soil. Perhaps, not for today, after a stunning last over from Tim Southee despite a late fightback from Dinesh Karthik and Krunal Pandya.
India were in the hunt despite losing Shikhar Dhawan early on but the loss of wickets during the middle overs surely dented their hopes during the chase. First Vijay Shankar followed by the dismissal of two big hitters – Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya - put the Men in Blue on the back foot and the pressure then took a toll on MS Dhoni as they kept falling apart.
Though Krunal and Karthik defied the odds to inspire a late comeback the Kiwis held their nerves to emerge triumphant on the evening.
India 197-6 after 19 overs:
THIS IS GOING DOWN TO THE WIRE! Krunal Pandya finishes the 19th over by smashing Kuggeleijn for a biggie that also brings up the fifty partnership.
Brilliant hitting by DK but small mistakes have a big effect on the result in T20s. Was a mistake to not take that single with Krunal at the other end.#IndVsNZ— Sanjay Manjrekar (@sanjaymanjrekar) February 10, 2019
India 183-6 after 18 overs:
MUCH NEEDED BOOST! Wide, 6, 4, 4, 1, 1, 1. India have a sniff here as Mitchell Santner leaks 17 runs in the 18th over. Can they find a way back?
India 154-6 after 16 overs:
WICKET! India are falling apart in Hamilton. Mitchell pitches it on a good length outside off, MS Dhoni smacks it towards long on but gets the height, not the distance. Finds Southee in the deep.
Too many wickets. This run-chase is coming apart spectacularly after the halfway point.— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) February 10, 2019
India 145-5 after 15 overs:
CAUGHT! What's happening? Hardik Pandya loses control of his bat and miscues his shot after being cramped for room by Kuggeleijn. Williamson covers ground to take a good catch at extra cover.
India 141-4 after 14 overs:
BIG WICKET! India are crumbling under pressure and the well-settled Rohit Sharma now loses his wicket. Plays a timid shot, slashing wide to Seifert and Daryl Mitchell is charged up,
India 128-3 after 13 overs:
CAUGHT! Maiden T20 wicket for Tickner. Full toss bowled wide and Rishabh Pant fails to clear the 30-yard circle, finding Kane Williamson who takes a stunner.
India 92-2 after 9 overs:
WICKET! Mitchell Santner strikes again. Vijay Shankar connects well with a slog sweep but doesn't get the timing right, finding Grandhomme in the deep.
India 62-1 after 7 overs:
BOUNDARY! One bounce, four. Vijay Shankar brings up the fifty for India after clearning Kuggelejin over long off.
One batsman has to throw caution to the winds. Has to be Vijay Shanker— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) February 10, 2019
India 11-1 after 1 over:
CAUGHT! Shikhar Dhawan goes for the premeditated slog sweep but doesn't get the timing right, giving a simple catch to Mitchell at deep mid-wicket.
New Zealand 212-4 after 20 overs:
New Zealand left India with a mighty target of 213 to chase in the T20I series decider in Hamilton on Saturday after being put into bat first.
Colin Munro and Tim Seifert provided the hosts with a solid foundation and despite Kuldeep Yadav dismissing the duo later on, the middle-order batsmen took over from where the openers left.
The Indian pacers had a day to forget after being taken to the cleaners but with a quick outfield and short boundaries, the visitors will aim to provide a strong response in the second innings.
New Zealand 200-4 after 19 overs:
200 UP! New Zealand continue to show no signs on stopping despite losing key wickets during intervals.
New Zealand 192-4 after 18.1 overs:
EDGED AND GONE! Full and wide by Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Grandhomme slashes hard and can only manage to find MS Dhoni behind the stumps.
Bhuvi strikes. This is so wide, but de Grandhomme swings himself off his feet trying to get to it. Gets an outside edge and Dhoni does the rest.— BCCI (@BCCI) February 10, 2019
NZ 193/4 in 18.2 overs #NZvIND pic.twitter.com/okeKasIQJw
If not today, the realisation will come soon enough that the Pandya brothers are your 2 overs bowlers & only a good day could bowl 4 in T20Is. #INDvsNZt20— Sanjay Manjrekar (@sanjaymanjrekar) February 10, 2019
New Zealand 151-3 after 15 overs:
WICKET! And there goes the big fish. A slow and short ball by Khaleel Ahmed is enough to get the better of Kane Williamson who gets a huge top edge. Kuldeep Yadav takes a dolly at short fine leg.
New Zealand 140-2 after 14 overs:
CAUGHT! Kuldeep strikes again and its dangerman Colin Munro who has to depart. Bowls it away from the body and a mishit results in a huge top edge which Hardik Pandya settles under at deep mid-wicket.
The Munro show is over! Tried to launch another one out of the ground, but spoons it to Hardik coming in at long on, who makes no mistake— BCCI (@BCCI) February 10, 2019
NZ 140/2 after 14 https://t.co/hL4Vq4hUCv #NZvIND pic.twitter.com/IGneqmAjIC
New Zealand 135-1 after 13 overs:
DROPPED! Change of pace from Hardik Pandya deceives Colin Munro who plays a loose shot on the leg side. A top edge is spilled by Khaleel Ahmed in the end. Costly miss.
New Zealand 110-1 after 11 overs:
SIX! Colin Munro takes on Krunal Pandya for a slog sweep and clears the boundary by a distance. Brings up his 9th T20 half-century and also the hundred for New Zealand.
New Zealand 83-1 after 8 overs:
STUMPED! Spin introduced and Kuldeep Yadav draws first blood. Seifert steps up and is bamboozled by a classic leg break delivery before MS Dhoni disrupts the bails in a flash. Third umpire shows nothing behind the line and the hosts lose their first wicket.
Might be lucky with the decision but was another classic Dhoni stumping. #StillHasIt— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) February 10, 2019
New Zealand 66-0 after 6 overs:
SIX! Colin Munro gets in a good position and smashes Krunal Pandya for a biggie over deep mid-wicket. Fifty partnership comes up.
Scorching start by NZ. India need to pull things back quickly or will be chasing 200+ score as in the first game— Cricketwallah (@cricketwallah) February 10, 2019
New Zealand 38-0 after 4 overs:
Massive over for the hosts with Tim Seifert battering Khaleel Ahmed for 16 runs, including two boundaries and a cheeky six.
New Zealand have the start they wanted. Already India having to play catch up. This could be a big score.— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) February 10, 2019
New Zealand 11-0 after 1 over:
Brilliant start for the Kiwis as they hammer Bhuvneshwar Kumar for 11 runs in the opening over.
Riding high after a convincing 7-wicket victory to draw level in the three-match series, Team India will set sights on becoming the first side to clinch a T20I series in New Zealand when the two sides square off in the final encounter in Hamilton on Sunday.
Having won their first Test and bilateral ODI series in Australia already, the visitors would be keen to end their tour of Kiwis on a sweet note before returning back home.
With the series tied at 1-1, the encounter at Seddon Park promises to be thrilling contest.
Skipper Rohit Sharma will aim to keep his 100% record as T20 skipper intact while Kane Williamson’s men have already proven they are no pushovers, especially when it comes to home conditions.
With the track at Hamilton known to offer a lot of assistance to the spinners, it will be interesting to see how the hosts counter the Indian bowling attack.
One change to our Playing XI for today's game. Kuldeep comes in place of Chahal. pic.twitter.com/nUmmgKhKwz— BCCI (@BCCI) February 10, 2019
NZ XI: T Seifert, C Munro, K Williamson, D Mitchell, R Taylor, C de Grandhomme, M Santner, S Kuggeleijn, T Southee, I Sodhi, B Tickner— BCCI (@BCCI) February 10, 2019
India: Rohit Sharma(c), Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant, Dinesh Karthik, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni, Krunal Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Siddarth Kaul, Khaleel Ahmed, Shubman Gill, Vijay Shankar, Hardik Pandya, Mohammad Siraj.
New Zealand: Kane Williamson(c), Doug Bracewell, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Scott Kuggeleijn, Colin Munro, Daryl Mitchell, Mitchell Santner, Tim Seifert, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Blair Tickner, James Neesham.
Match Starts at 12:30 pm IST.
Where to watch?
Live telecast: The series will be broadcast on Star Sports Network in English, Hindi and Tamil.
Live streaming: The series will be live streamed on Hotstar, the digital platform on the internet.
Live Updates: You can also follow the live match blog on the website....