DLS par score at the end of 9 overs with four wickets down was 75. According to the rules, the side chasing needs to score one run more than the par score to emerge victorious since India achieved the par score, the match ended in a tie. The Hardik Pandya-led side, however, won the series as they had won the second T20I in Mount Maunganui after a washout in the series opener in Wellington.
In a series expected to be highlighted by India and New Zealand, the rain ended up having the final laugh. With the two teams poised to end the three-match affair with a thrilling finish at Napier’s McLean Park, a game that could have gone down to the wire ended in a whimper more than a bang. Chasing 161 to win, India were 75/4 when the heavens opened for the nth time on Tuesday and the players were forced off the field. However, that total was just enough for India to scrape through. DLS par score at the end of 9 overs with four wickets down was 75. According to the rules, the side chasing needs to score one run more than the par score to emerge victorious. Since India achieved the par score, the match ended in a tie. The Hardik Pandya-led side, however, won the series as they had won the second T20I in Mount Maunganui after a washout in the series opener in Wellington.
If you need a peak into the future of Indian cricket, look no further than what transpired in the third T20I against New Zealand, as two of their shining youngsters and the potential future captain made their presence felt in very contrasting ways. First, with New Zealand racing towards a potential 180-plus total, Mohammed Siraj and Arshdeep Singh ran through the middle order to restrict them to 160. And later, Hardik Pandya showed remarkable game awareness to make sure India took the series.
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India lost three wickets in three overs, but with rain on the horizon, there was an urgency in their chase. Ishan Kishan and Rishabh Pant went in quick succession, followed by a first-ball duck for Shreyas Iyer. To make matters worse, in a rarity, Suryakumar Yadav was dismissed for 13. But it was Hardik Pandya who ensured that India’s scoring rate did not dip. In the first 8 balls he faced, Pandya struck three boundaries and a six to speed to unbeaten 30 off 18 balls. As it turned out, that was exactly what India needed as he put India on par. Even though the rain relented, it had inflicted enough damage despite the covers coming off. India may not have ended the series the way they would have wanted, but walk away visitors under an undefeated Pandya.
The first innings unfolded without any hurdles. Finn Allen, who blazed away in New Zealand’s T20 World Cup opener against Australia last month, hasn’t quite batted the same way, and his struggles continued in Napier when he failed to put bat to the ball to an away swinger and was declared a sitting duck. Mark Chapman, having to fill the big shoes of Kane Williamson struck a couple of entertaining boundaries but miscued a loft off Mohammed Siraj. But with Devon Conway in red-hot touch at the other end, runs were never a concern for New Zealand. The former World No. 1 T20I batsman took 19 runs off Arshdeep’s second over to keep the run-rate moving along swiftly.
Chapman top-edged Mohammed Siraj but it didn’t hurt New Zealanda lot. Glenn Phillips, after a scratchy start against Deepak Hooda, found his footing against Yuzvendra Chahal, whom he creamed for 16 in an over. During their stroke-filled 86-run partnership, Phillips took over the role handsomely. After his assault on Chahal, he took on Bhuvneshwar Kumar as well making it 31 off two overs. As Bhuvneshwar conceded 15 in his third over, Phillips completed his fifty off 31 balls. Conway was equally brilliant. After a steady start, which saw him attempting an ugly scoop shot inside the Powerplay, Conway took a more orthodox approach and upped his batting tempo briefly. Even when Phillips took his time, Conway ensured New Zealand kept collecting the odd boundary.
With the partnership flourishing, New Zealand looked close to getting to 175, but once both batters departed after scoring their respective half-centuries, New Zealand capitulated. From 130/2, the BlackCaps lost eight wickets for 30 runs with Siraj and Arshdeep running them ragged. Siraj was the one who triggered the collapse with the wicket of the dangerous Phillips. His knack of making the ball skid through and generating extra bounce beat Phillips for speed. From there, it was all him and Arshdeep and two knocked over the NZ lower middle order.
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