New Delhi: The Indian bowlers held on to their nerves in a rain-curtailed decider as the hosts edged out a spirited New Zealand side by 6 runs to clinch the T20I series 2-1 at the Greenfield International Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday.
The Kiwis needed 68 runs to win the match in 8 overs but the likes of Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1/18), Jasprit Bumrah (2/9) and Yuzvendra Chahal (0/8) bowled exceptionally well under pressure to restrict the Kiwis.
Here is Cricketnext's report card as we analyse the performance of every Indian player from Tuesday’s game.
Shikhar Dhawan: Rating 2: Verdict: Very Poor
After a blistering innings in the first T20I, opener Shikhar Dhawan flattered to deceive in the final two matches of the series. While Dhawan cannot be entirely blamed for his single-digit score in Thiruvananthapuram — he was under pressure to fire from the word go as the batsmen had only 8 overs to face in the rain-shortened game — he did fail right at the top when India needed the openers to fire in the series finale. And he made the cardinal sin of wasting balls as well, facing 6 balls to make 6 runs.
Rohit Sharma: Rating 3: Verdict: Poor
Like Dhawan, Rohit Sharma too had a poor outing with the bat in the final two matches of the series. And in the third T20I — after Dhawan was dismissed in the second over — Rohit was expected to bat for a few overs to help India post a good total. However, the opener departed off the very next ball. The only saving grace for the limited-overs vice-captain was the brilliant catch he took to dismiss Colin Munro off Jasprit Bumrah’s bowling. Running back and completing a catch is never easy, but Rohit did it in style.
Virat Kohli: Rating 6: Verdict: Good
Following the dismissal of both the openers, India skipper Virat Kohli was required to provid the impetus, but all Kohli managed was a six before falling to Ish Sodhi’s guile. With the ball stopping on the wicket, Sodhi pitched it slightly on the shorter side and Kohli went for an expansive pull, only to hit it straight to Trent Boult at the mid-wicket boundary. But his captaincy deserves praise as he maneuvered his bowlers well to restrict the Kiwis in their chase and clinch the series.
Shreyas Iyer: Rating 3: Verdict: Poor
Failing to finish after settling down is an unpardonable crime in T20Is and young Shreyas Iyer did just that on Tuesday. While he played only 6 balls, he was around in the middle for almost 3 overs and that was enough time to settle down and take the initiative, especially after India lost the top three with just 30 runs on the board. But Iyer played six deliveries and could only score 6 runs before getting out, in trying to up the ante. But still early days for the Mumbai player and he has shown eagerness to learn.
Manish Pandey: Rating 6: Verdict: Good
Manish Pandey might have managed just 17 off 11 balls, but it was worth its weight in gold on a wicket which made batting a herculean task. His score was also the highest individual score in the India innings. Starting with a square driven boundary, Manish looked in complete control till the time he was in the middle as he also hit a huge six. But he was dismissed against the run of play by Boult as Colin de Grandhomme completed an easy catch.
Hardik Pandya: Rating 8: Verdict: Very Good
First he combined with Manish Pandey to provide India with a competitive total and then he returned to bowl the last over of the New Zealand innings when the visitors needed just 19 with big-hitting Colin de Grandhomme at the crease with Mitchell Santner. In fact, he stopped a fierce drive off Grandhomme’s bat off the second ball of the over and had that gone to the boundary, things might have been different. In the end, Hardik gave away just 11 runs as India won by 6 runs.
MS Dhoni: Rating 6: Verdict: Good
Dhoni wasn’t required to do anything with the bat, but his tactical acumen came good as Kohli and boys defended their score of 67. Scoring 68 off 8 overs in the times of IPL is no big feat, but the constant changes Kohli brought about, including the idea of using Jasprit Bumrah in the 7th over instead of the 8th was Dhoni’s idea. And the move paid dividend as Bumrah gave away just 10 runs with the Kiwis needing 29 runs from the last 12 balls.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar: Rating 6: Verdict: Good
Bhuvi gave the Indians the perfect start as they came out to defend 67. Not only did he give away just 8 runs from the first over, despite Colin Munro hitting him for a six, Bhuvi also picked the wicket of Martin Guptill with the knuckle ball. In fact, Guptill had no idea about the delivery and a wild swing was all he could manage. The early wicket set the flow for the Indians and they didn’t look back.
Jasprit Bumrah: Rating 10: Verdict: Excellent
Deservedly named the Man of the Match, Bumrah finished with figures of 2/9 from his 2 overs and more importantly picked the wicket of dangerman Colin Munro. While Rohit deserves credit for the brilliant catch, Bumrah kept bowling it in the right areas through the game. Not letting the slippery ball get the better of him, Bumrah used his variations to good effect as the Kiwi batsmen found him impossible to hit.
Yuzvendra Chahal: Rating 8: Verdict: Very Good
With just 8 overs to bat, batsmen get the license to take the attack to spinners. But Chahal ensured that he used all the tricks up his sleeve to give away just 8 runs from his 2 overs. Chahal once again showed why skipper Virat Kohli dots on him when it comes to run chases. Mixing his variation to perfection, Chahal had the Kiwi batsmen all at sea. Not overawed by the turn on offer, Chahal stuck to the basics and reaped the rewards.
Kuldeep Yadav: Rating 4: Verdict: Average
Coming back into the Indian team after Axar Patel had replaced him, Kuldeep failed to make it count and had an average outing. The only bright spot for the chinaman bowler was the wicket of Glenn Phillips as Shikhar Dhawan completed a good catch at the boundary.