India finished off the game with seven wickets in hand to clinch the three-match series 2-0 against New Zealand in Ranchi at the JSCA International Stadium Complex.
Rohit Sharma won the toss and elected to field, citing the dew factor.
Having won their second straight toss – Rohit proving much better in this regard than Virat – India didn’t get off to the best of starts.
Martin Guptill was off like a rocket smashing 31 off 15 as New Zealand dominated their powerplay.
Eventually, Guptill was dismissed for 31 by Deepak Chahar.
In the process, Guptill surpassed Virat Kohli in the list of highest run-getters in T20Is.
Later, the bowlers, led by R Ashwin, Axar Patel and the debutant Harshal Patel, helped India regain the initiative.
Harshal Patel won a debut at the expense of Mohammed Siraj, who picked up an injury according to the Indian captain.
Harshal starred with the ball as he picked up the wickets of Daryl Mitchell and Glenn Phillips to dent Kiwis’ progress.
The Indian spin duo of Axar Patel (1/26) and Ravichandran Ashwin (1/19) ensured that the Kiwis were always under pressure.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Deepak Chahar were taken for plenty in the powerplay but came back strong as India didn’t allow New Zealand to post a big total.
Venkatesh Iyer didn’t have much to show as he stayed at the crease for a brief period in the last over of the match and also wasn’t picked to bowl by Rohit.
Indian openers sizzle
Chasing a target of 154 runs, KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma put on a century stand for the first wicket to give Team India a solid platform to overhaul the visitor’s target.
Rahul departed for 65 runs while Rohit played a memorable knock of 55 before getting dismissed.
Both were victims of Tim Southee’s slower ball.
Rahul looked to whip him over the leg side boundary but failed to clear the boundary rider.
In his next over, Southee got another slower ball to hold on the pitch and climb awkwardly at Rohit, who popped a catch to short cover.
Southee continued to use the slower ball and soon had Suryakumar bottom-edging it onto his stumps.
Yet, India was comfortably placed with 17 required from 24.
Rishabh Pant ensured that India crossed the finishing line with further delay.
India 155 for 3 (Rahul 65, Rohit 55, Southee 3-16) beat New Zealand 153 for 6 (Phillips 34, Mitchell 31, Harshal 2-25, Ashwin 1-19) by seven wickets