The third T20 match between India and New Zealand was a final by all accounts with the 3 match series tied 1-1. The third T20 which was played in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala could have been abandoned due to light but continuous rain but great work by the groundsmen ensured that match officials were able to schedule an 8 over game per side.
The Kiwis won the toss and elected to bowl first as they wanted to see what the pitch would be like. The 8 over game meant that the crowd would get to see an all-out attack from ball one but the conditions were not very conducive to batting.
India Restricted To 67
Tim Southee who came back into the side for the final T20 struck quickly and removed both the Indian openers cheaply. Virat Kohli gave the innings momentum with a six and a four but fell shortly afterwards to put India in a spot of bother. Young S Iyer failed again and it was left to M Pandey who came in for M Siraj and all-rounder H Pandya to get India to a respectable total of 67.
It appears that Ravi Shastri and Kohli did not have the confidence to push MS Dhoni up the order and preferred to give M Pandey who had not played in both T20s an opportunity. This lack of confidence could send a message to the selectors that MS Dhoni’s time in T20 cricket is coming to an end.
New Zealand Fall Short By 6 Runs
New Zealand had the firepower to chase down this modest total even though conditions were not great. However J Bumrah continued his good form and was supported well by leg-spinner Y Chahal. Together they went down 4 overs for just 17 runs and Bumrah took two crucial wickets.
India also fielded extremely well and put additional pressure on the Kiwis. Rohit Sharma took a magnificent catch to dismiss the dangerous Colin Munro while MS Dhoni played his part in a crucial run-out. Kohli bowled out his main bowlers in order to give India a chance and left the final over to H Pandya.
Pandya almost gave away the match after C Grandhomme hit him for a six in the second ball of the over and then followed it up with a wide. However he was able to keep things tight and the Kiwis fell short by 6 runs in the end. J Bumrah was given the man of the match as well as man of the series awards.
India will now take a short break before preparing to take on Sri Lanka at home.