Super Rohit in Super Over

Super Rohit in Super Over
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Highlights

Super Overs aren't really our friends: Kane; ‘winning run good sign ahead of WC’

Hamilton: Rohit Sharma smashed consecutive sixes in the final two balls of the thrilling Super Over, leading India to their maiden T20 series win in New Zealand following a nerve-wracking finish in the third match here on Wednesday. Needing 18 off six balls in the Super Over, India had managed just 10 off the first four balls. Then, Sharma smacked two big hits, one over mid-wicket and the other over long off, to help India pull off a nail-biter.

Before the Super Over, New Zealand had it all under control with two runs needed off four balls and six wickets in hand to overhaul India's 179 for five. However, the hosts threw it away from a comfortable position as Mohammad Shami bowled a brilliant death over to tie the game, stretching it to a Super Over, bringing back memories of the 2019 World Cup final which New Zealand agonisingly lost to England on boundary count.

New Zealand captain Kane Williamon did all he could, both in the run chase (95 off 48 balls) and the Super Over (11), but it did not prove to be enough to get his team over the line in a must-win game. It was Williamson's highest T20 score as the Black Caps scored 179-6 (20 overs) in reply to India's 179-5 (20 overs). Rohit's 65 off 40 balls had propelled the visitors after they were put into bat.

India's first T20 series in New Zealand came after a 1-2 loss to the Black Caps almost 12 months ago. On Wednesday, India's fielding effort was poor, including an easy drop from Ravindra Jadeja with Jasprit Bumrah (0-45) proving expensive on the night. Bumrah went for 11 runs in the penultimate over.

Shami (2-32) conceded a six off the first ball of the 20th but then removed both Williamson and bowled Ross Taylor (17 off 10 balls) in the next five balls to snatch a tie. In the ensuing Super Over, Williamson and Martin Guptill combined for another 17 runs with two fours and a six as Bumrah's off night continued. In response, Sharma and KL Rahul did the needful for India with aplomb. Chasing 180, New Zealand started well with Guptill (31 off 21 balls) and Colin Munro (14) putting on 47 for the opening stand. Guptill smacked two fours and three sixes, but was also the first to go, caught in the deep off Shardul Thakur (2-21) in the sixth over. It became a double blow as Ravindra Jadeja (1-23) had Munro stumped four balls later. Mitchell Santner (9) was promoted up the order, but it was Williamson who provided momentum to the innings with a timing and placement master class. The skipper reached fifty off 28 balls, and then anchored the innings even as wickets fell around him. Santner went cheaply, and then Colin de Grandhomme (5) struck around to add 49 runs with Williamson. New Zealand crossed 150 in the 17th over and were on course for a surprising win. Earlier, Sharma came good after after missing out in the twin Auckland T20Is. Sharma's blitz included six fours and three sixes as he put on 89 runs for the first wicket with KL Rahul (27 off 19 balls). This was after New Zealand won a third straight toss, but opted to field this time around. The hosts made one change with Scott Kuggeleijn coming in for Blair Tickner.

Rahul though fell to Colin de Grandhomme (1-13) at the other end. Surprisingly, Shivam Dube (3) was promoted to number three but the move didn't work out. He was out after facing a laborious seven deliveries, which also sucked momentum out of the Indian innings. The pressure told at the other end as Sharma was dismissed off Bennett as well. India lost three wickets for seven runs in the space of three overs. Skipper Virat Kohli (38 off 27 balls) and Shreyas Iyer (17 off 16 balls) then tried to resurrect the innings with 46-run partnership for the fourth wicket. Iyer's dismissal was the turning point, stumped off Mitchell Santner () in the 17th over.

Two overs later, Kohli was caught at extra cover. Manish Pandey (14 not out) and Jadeja (10 not out) pushed the score past 170 but India fell short of a 200-score the openers had set up.

"Super Overs aren't really New Zealand's friend," skipper Kane Williamson said after a heart-breaking loss to India

"To be honest we would have liked to get across the line earlier and not in the Super Over. It's just a shame that we couldn't get past the line."

"It is pretty disappointing to be on the wrong side of the result after doing a lot of hard work. (But) There was a lot of improvement after the first two games. "If we reflect on the match, then it was a brilliant game. India had a good total on that surface and they did well with the ball because it was taking some turn as well. The guys fought back nicely after the start India got with the bat. And we were able to build partnerships and take the game deep," he added.

Rohit Sharma emphasised on India's recent winning streak in the shortest format, calling it a good sign heading into the T20 World Cup. India claimed an unassailable 3-0 lead.

"Whenever anyone's got an opportunity, they have made it count. Shikhar as well, when he played the last series against Sri Lanka, he got a crucial 50 and then KL has been in good form over the last 7-8 T20s, he's got probably 4 or 5 fifties," Rohit said.

"So it's a good sign for the team. That's how we look at it. It's important for most of our players to stay in good form and then what happens with the final XI and everything that will be only decided once all the players are available and the captain and management will sit together and identify who are the right guys to play that particular game. That's how I look at it.

"For me, I want everyone to stay in good form, which has happened through the series. It is a great sign for us moving forward in this particular format at least. I wish the next two games too we don't relax. We just want to keep the momentum going. It's a good sign," he opined.

Took five minutes to find my abdomen guard: Rohit

Caught unaware about the Super Over scenario, Rohit took five minutes to "find" his abdomen guard. The India vice captain said the team had almost given up with New Zealand going great guns at one point. "Everything was packed. All my stuff was inside my bag. I had to get it out. It literally took me five minutes to find my abdomen guard because I didn't know where it was," Rohit said. "I mean we never thought it would go to the Super Over, the way they were batting at one point. It looked like they could easily win the game," he added.

Rohit said there is no training possible for Super Over eventualities. In fact, the Indian team wasn't aware of the Super Over and came to know only after the match had finished in a tie.

Rohit said there is no training possible for Super Over eventualities.

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