Hyderabad: It was yet another clinical performance by the Men in blue as they beat New Zealand by 7 runs in the fifth and final T20 at Mount Maunganui on Sunday. Team India also achieved a feat like never before as they whitewashed the Kiwis by 5-0.
After winning two consecutive super overs in the last two matches, It came down to the last game of the series. Making a small change in the team, Skipper Virat Kohli was rested for the match and Rohit Sharma was named the Captain.
Rohit won the toss and elected to bat first as Sanju Samson once again got to open the innings. India were off a good start until Samson once again disappointed the team by throwing away his wicket on 2. Rohit Sharma walked out to bat alongside Rahul and the duo took no time in accelerating the Indian innings. They almost scored 9 per over by the end of the powerplay.
As the duo marched on aggressively, KL Rahul, unfortunately, got out on 45 and missed out on a well deserved 50. On the other side, Rohit Sharma made sure he reached the fifty mark and became the batsman with the most number of 50s in T20s (25). He then hurt his calf and was in pain but continued to play. It was when he tried playing a slog sweep, he couldn't run and then eventually walked out of the field. KL Rahul was then named the Captain for the match.
The middle-order then couldn't accelerate at the end and with the help of Manish Pandey's two boundaries ended up on 163/3.
With an almost similar target to chase, The New Zealand Batsmen struggled right from the beginning. The openers fell for a combined 17 as they looked in deep trouble. Tim Seifert's miscommunication then lead to the run-out of Tom Bruce for 0.
It was all down to Ross Taylor and Tim Seifert as they targeted Shivam Dube in the 10th over of the innings. The duo scored 34 runs off the Shivam Dube over and brought down the equation to 66 off the last 10 overs.
What was then looking like an easy chase, didn't turn out to be one as the Indian bowlers made a wonderful comeback into the game and broke the back of the Kiwi batting line-up. Ross Taylor, who was playing his 100th T20, couldn't take New Zealand home. Jasprit Bumrah was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 3-12 in his 4 overs.
Although Ish Sodhi hit 2 sixes at the end, India still won by 7 runs and whitewashed the Kiwis by 5-0, a feat achieved for the first time. Jasprit Bumrah was adjudged the Man of the Match for his lethal spell with the ball. KL Rahul was adjudged the Man of the series for his consistent performances with the bat throughout the series.
India is now set to play a three-match ODI series against the Kiwis from February 5 at Hamilton.