After a rare false start to the series, the Men in Blue were in for a joyride as they romped over the Kiwis in the series finale to walk away with the bragging rights, also registering their 50th T20I victory at home.
It was a display to remember, as two sides kept on clawing at each other desperately till the second game. However, the entire narrative changed when the teams took their respective strides at the Narendra Modi Stadium for the series decider with Hardik Pandya winning the toss and opting to bat first.
India chose to go forward with the same opening pair despite a couple of poor shows in the first two fixtures. Ishan Kishan could do very little to dissuade others of the notion of his woes as he got out for another modest show.
Shubman Gill, however, seemed in effervescent touch as he hacked away at the Kiwi bowlers early and was well accompanied by Rahul Tripathi who could eventually brave a couple of modest displays in the series so far to come out in his most intimidating avatar.
The duo of Tripathi and Gill posted a solid 80 runs stand for the second wicket before the former was shown the exit by Ish Sodhi as he ended up holing out to his former IPL teammate at the Kolkata Knight Riders, Lockie Ferguson.
The departure of Tripathi paved the path for the arrival of Suryakumar Yadav and India’s most prolific T20 batter at the moment seemed to continue his rampant spree while Shubman Gill carried forward with his knack of bringing fire to the platter occasionally.
After a well-constructed 38 runs stand between the two, SKY couldn’t hold onto his momentum and was succeeded by the arrival of the Indian captain to the center. Hardik and Gill wasted no time in bringing out the heat and came out dancing in their spookiest avatars as New Zealand fielders would only be fetching the balls from beyond the boundary.
Thanks to Shubman Gill’s maiden T20I century, he got into the rare list of cricketers to have achieved tons in all formats of the game. Riding high on his blitzkrieg, India piled up a staggering 234 from their 20 overs.
Considering the flat surface that the stadium had to offer, it was expected to be a run-fest. However, things proved to be quite the contrary as New Zealand couldn’t get started at all. Wickets started falling at regular intervals and the Indian captain proved to be equally substantial with the cherry in his arms as he was with the willow earlier.
Daryl Mitchell and Mitchell Santner were the only individuals with double-digits scores with the former contributing more than half of the team’s score at a well-constructed 35, showing restraint and aggression in the same breath.
Hardik Pandya was the lead bowler of the Indian contingent with a haul of 4 wickets while he was aptly supported by the triptych of Arshdeep, Umran and Shivam Mavi who claimed 6 wickets to leave New Zealand skittled out for a paltry 66.
This was India’s biggest win in T20Is by runs as they walked away with a 168 runs win, penning history as New Zealand’s dearth of a T20I series in India accentuates further. With the Kiwis done and dusted, it is now time for one of the biggest challenges that India will have to brave in the form of Australia.