India clinch T20I series triumph as new skipper Rohit impresses again

By Sports Desk November 19, 2021

India captain Rohit Sharma played a central role as his team clinched a T20I series win over World Cup finalists New Zealand with a clinical seven-wicket victory in Ranchi.

After making a valuable 48 when India won the first game in the three-match series by five wickets on Wednesday, Rohit – who took over from Virat Kohli as T20 captain for this series and seems set to be handed the role on a full-time basis – added a rapid 55 on this occasion as he and KL Rahul produced a century opening partnership.

Chasing New Zealand's 153-6, Rahul plundered 65 from 49 balls and Rohit's runs came from just 36 deliveries, before India withstood a slight stumble to get over the line with 16 balls to spare.

Rishabh Pant finished it off with two sixes at the start of the 18th over, with India getting the job done emphatically at JSCA International Stadium Complex.

New Zealand captain Tim Southee's inspired bowling had accounted for both openers and Suryakumar Yadav, but by that point India were almost home and hosed. Pant and Venkatesh Iyer both finished on 12 not out.

The visitors paid the price for being unable to build on a strong platform of their own, having been 79-1 in the ninth over. Martin Guptill thrashed 31 from 15 balls, perishing to a top edge off Deepak Chahar after striking the same bowler for six from the previous delivery.

Harshal Patel had a strong debut for India and his 2-25 included the wicket of middle-order dangerman Glenn Phillips, who hit three sixes, taking his total to 97 in T20 matches at all levels in 2021, making 34 in 21 balls.

The three-match series concludes in Kolkata on Sunday, with India eyeing a clean sweep.

Rohit and Rahul take game away from Kiwis

Trent Boult dropped Rohit on 29 after he sliced into the on side. A wicket at that point, in the 10th over, might have made a difference, but India's opening pair went on to put on 117 and such a foundation meant the outcome became a foregone conclusion. It means the India openers have equalled the most century partnerships in T20I matches, joining Pakistan's Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan on five.

Super Southee efforts in vain

Southee's salvo came too late to majorly affect the outcome, but his bowling was terrific and figures of 3-16 from four overs matched his fifth-best T20I performance, in what was his 92nd appearance in the short format for the Black Caps.

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