Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 7: Indian bowlers once again delivered in tough condition to help their side defend a low total and beat New Zealand by 6 runs in a nail-biting rain-curtailed encounter here on Tuesday (November 7).
Rain forced the match to get a delayed start at Thiruvananthapuram as the crowd waited patiently for the drizzle to stop. The ground staff's energy to make the ground match ready was commendable as they made the ground match-ready no sooner than the rain stopped.
Defending a total of 67 from 8 overs, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav performed exceptionally well to restrict the visitors to 61/6 in the decider after rain forced a two-and-a-half-hour delayed start.
Bumrah (2/9) was named the Man of the Match for his clinical show. He got the wicket of dangerous Colin Munro in the first over and later bowled the critical 7th over and finished it by conceding 10 runs. It was Bumrah's economical final over that ensured India had enough runs (19) on the board to defend.
New Zealand, on the other hand, were equally good with their bowling as their bowlers didn't let the Indians free their arms and score big. However, it was the batting in which Kiwis made a mess of as they goofed up chasing a low total on a tricky pitch.
That was top effort winning the t20 series against NZ. Bumrah n Chahal were outstanding. NZ had some good matches too in this trip #IndvsNZ— Irfan Pathan (@IrfanPathan) November 7, 2017
Both the Indian spinners Chahal and Kuldeep played their role to perfection as they kept things tight for the visitors. Together they conceded just 18 runs from three overs and ensured the asking rate was higher for the Kiwis.
The visitors kept losing wickets at regular intervals but it was the mix-up with their running between the wickets that cost them the match.
Hardik Pandya got rid of a dangerous Williamson (8) with a direct hit and then paired up with Dhoni to remove Tom Bruce (4) at a critical juncture with another accurate throw from the deep.
Colin de Grandhomme played a brilliant cameo of 10-ball 17 and remained unbeaten, but unfortunately, he couldn't help his team reach home.
Earlier, New Zealand skipper won his third consecutive toss and invited his Indian counterpart to bat first in the final Twenty20 international.
India didn't get a great start as they lost both their openers on consecutive deliveries to rattle the batting order. Kohli played some good shots before falling for 13 while Manish Pandey emerged as the top-scorer for the team with his knock of 11-ball 17. It was Pandya too scored 14 off 10 deliveries to ensure the hosts had put some runs on the board.
India made a couple of changes to the side by resting Axar Patel and Mohammed Siraj and bringing in Manish Pandey and Kuldeep Yadav. It wasn't a bad move from the skipper.
New Zealand too made a change to their playing XI by bringing in experienced Tim Southee in for Adam Milne. Southee too didn't disappoint with his selection as he returned with figures of 2/13 and removed the dangerous opening pair of Rohit and Shikhar.
Spinner Ish Sodhi was equally good for the visitors as he picked up two wickets from his quota of 2 overs and conceded 23 runs.
Constant drizzle in the city forced the ground staff to keep the covers at the stadium on. This is the first international game in the city after a gap of 39 years. Greenfield Stadium became the 19th venue to host a T20I in India.
The groundsmen tried hard to dry the outfield to ensure a game of cricket, even if it was a rain-curtailed one.
India had won the first match in New Delhi while the visitors bounced back in the next match in Rajkot. But by virtue of their win the third T20I, India clinched the series 2-1. It was the first occasion when the Men In Blue won a series against the Kiwis.