India has capped off a successful two weeks against New Zealand, winning the T20 series 2-1 after a rain-affected game 3 at Thiruvananthapuram.
The series was locked at 1-1 after New Zealand won comfortably in the second game to force a decider. The previous two games had seen some high scores and plenty of big hits, with India putting up 202/3 from their 20 overs in game 1, before the Kiwis scored 196/2 in the second match.
This game was a far cry from its predecessors, as rain forced the match to be shortened to eight overs a side. India batted first and managed 67/5 in difficult conditions. 17 was the highest individual score and 11 the most balls faced by any one player.
At no point during their chase did the Kiwis appear likely winners, with Jasprit Bumrah and Yuzvendra Chahal proving difficult to score off in wet conditions. Despite this, the game was in the balance until the very end, and Colin de Grandhomme’s six on the fourth last ball of the match brought the required total to 14 from 3 balls. India collectively gasped when Hardik Pandya then bowled a wide, but he was able to close out the over well enough to grant India a 6 run victory, and a second series win in a week.
The series win is an impressive one, with the Kiwis sitting in second place in the world rankings. In contrast, India is 5th, but the series win propels them right alongside a cluster of teams ranked 2nd-5th.
The win had an element of deja vu about it, as just over a week earlier India had won the third and final match of the ODI series between the two nations, also by 6 runs. That game capped off an entertaining series, in which first New Zealand and then India were able to chase down solid totals in the first two games.
In that decider, India had put up the daunting total of 337/6 in the first innings. Impressive centuries from Rohit Sharma and captain Virat Kohli provided the foundation for the score. A string of good innings’ followed for New Zealand, however an inability for any of their batsmen to go on and score centuries proved costly. Throughout the innings they were struggling to keep up with the required run rate, and in the end 337 proved just enough for victory. Bumrah and Chahal also proved vital in this innings, both limiting New Zealand to 47 runs from their 10 overs while picking up 3 and 2 wickets respectively
The ODI series victory had major implications in the world rankings, with India sitting in 2nd place behind South Africa by the smallest of margins. Their upcoming tour of Sri Lanka is now of great significance, with victory in the 3-game ODI series able to boost them onto the top of the rankings.