With an aim of finishing the long tour on the Oceaniansub-region of Australasia comprising of the powerhouse cricketing giants- Australia & Newzealand on a winning note, Indian team had one pending task to conquer on their wish list. Eyes on improving their T20I record against the Kiwis, possibly the lowest winpercentage for India against all ICC Full Members; a final meeting was held at Seddon Park, Hamilton on Sunday. However, the hosts had a different game plan altogether.
Having elected to bowl first in the series decider afterthe coin flipping in Rohit Sharma’s favour, India preferred to substitute the leg spin sensation Yuzvendra Chahal with the Chinaman, Kuldeep Yadav. Districts paceman Blair Tickner was set to make his international debut for the Kiwis in place of Lockie Ferguson. Posting a stiff target of 212 runs in front of India, Newzealand had already eased off the pressure over its bowling unit.
Not able to cope up with the pressure & a poor strike rate in the last encounter, Shikhar Dhawan failed to create an impact on the match & provide with a solid start for India. The slow start was however very well supported by the strong pace of middle order batting line-up comprising of Vijay Shankar, Rishabh Pant & Hardik Pandya. The trio added 93 runs with an average aggressive strike rate close to 200. However, India werestill far from achieving the target with 68 runs required in the last 5 over.
With the series slipping away from India, DineshKarthik & Krunal Pandya arised fresh hopes within the Indian fans after the cheap dismisal of M.S Dhoni post Hardik Panya cameo. The duo introduced their presence with solid hitting, dealing only in boundaries keeping India in the hunt of 213 run chase till the very last over.With 16 runs needed off the last 6 deliveries, DineshKarthik refused for a single of the third ball. KrunalPandya who was seen in an aggressive form was made to return to the non-striker’s end after the individual had covered almost all the pitch. As a result, India find itself short off the target by mere 5 runs which costed the series for the Men in Blue.
With this blunder, Karthik became the subject of troll on Twitter for being overconfident during the game. Despite the T20I series defeat in Newzealand, focus will shift gears for India when the action returns at home soil for the limited overs series against Australia.