T20 Cricket: Rohit Again as India Win A Super-Over Thriller, Seal T20I Series Against New Zealand!

You hardly come across tied T20I matches any part in the cricketing world; but today the third Twenty20 International match between India and New Zealand in Hamilton became one, and incredibly so. Indian opener Rohit Sharma starred in the Indian innings after being put into bat with 65 off 40 balls in a team total of 179/5, and yet again in the super over overhauling the New Zealand challenge of 18 runs with two sixes in the final two balls. A terrific 95 off just 48 balls by Kiwi captain Kane Williamson was in vain as he fell to Shami with just 2 runs needed off 4 balls of the final over. New Zealand needing 9 runs to win, Shami started the 20th over conceding a six to Taylor, then 1 run to Taylor that brings Williamson into strike, third ball gets him out caught in the gully, next ball dot to Seifert, fifth ball yields a bye, and the sixth ball bowls Taylor ending the match in a tie allowing a super-over finish. Mohammed Shami was justifiably the Game-changer of the match while Rohit bagged the Player of the Match honor.

On a somewhat slow pitch India began with an explosive partnership of 89 runs with Rohit racing to his half century in just 23 balls—the second fastest in T20 cricket. However, the Kiwi bowlers adjusted to the pitch superbly by bowling slower ones with spinner Sodhi doing extremely well giving away only 23 runs in 4 overs. India seemed to lose the plot of a 200+ target, and the changes in batting order didn’t help at all: when the stage was set perfectly for Virat Kohli after the fall of Rahul and with Rohit going great guns, in came not Kohli nor Shreyas nor even Pandey, but Shivam Dubey! Well, experiment and the IPL youngsters, no doubt! But for Jadeja and Pandey hitting some lusty blows in the final couple of overs the target could have been much easier than 179. Even then, the target of 180 was not a tall order and the Kiwis almost proved it. The pace bowlers of both teams toiled hard on the field—Southee for NZ and Jasprit Bumrah for India proving very expensive and wicketless.   

The match reminds one of the ICC Cricket World Cup-2019 Final when New Zealand failed to win in similar situations against England, and even a super-over could not yield a winner, leading to a result that still disturbs many. For India too, the name ‘New Zealand’ rankles thanks to the semi-final of the World Cup when India failed to cope with the Kiwi pacers the run-out of Dhoni being the turning point. That India have sealed the five-match T20I Series in New Zealand against New Zealand at 3-0 winning the first two matches in Auckland with relative ease would make a lot of Indian fans happy, not to mention the ecstasy of today’s incredibly exciting thriller going the Indian way at the very end.