Rohit Sharma hits last two balls for sixes in Hamilton T20 as India beat New Zealand in super over to clinch series
Sharma's heroics break Kiwi hearts after captain Kane Williamson makes 95 from 48 balls
Rohit Sharma hit the last two balls of the super over for sixes to clinch an enthralling, albeit unlikely, win for India in the third T20 against New Zealand in Hamilton on Wednesday.
The match was in New Zealand's bag after captain Kane Williamson blasted 95 from just 48 balls while chasing India's score of 179-5. The Kiwis needed two runs from four balls when Williamson went for the glory shot and got caught behind off the bowling of Mohammed Shami.
Even so, with one needed off the last ball, Ross Taylor only needed to get some bat on ball to seal victory but only managed an inside edge onto his stumps to send the match into a super over.
There, Jasprit Bumrah – who had a horrible day with the ball, giving away 45 runs from four overs – was given the ball and he was well off the mark again, going for two fours and a six as the hosts set a target of 18.
India openers KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma could only manage one boundary between them off the first four balls, which meant India needed 10 from two. Sharma, who had earlier set the stage for India's challenging total with 65 of 40 balls, sent two length balls from Tim Southee over the square leg and long-off boundaries as India stole victory from the jaws of defeat and also took an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series.
After the game, Sharma said he did not have a specific plan in the super over.
"I didn't know what to expect, whether to go from the first ball or just take a single, try and put pressure on the last three or four balls of the over. I just wanted to stay still and was waiting for the bowler to make a mistake," the opener said.
It was another heartbreak following a tie for New Zealand following the 2019 World Cup finale, and captain Williamson said the Blackcaps have to learn their lessons.
"Super overs haven't been too successful for us so we needed to be a little bit better to win it in regular time," the captain said. "A great game of cricket, India again showed their experience in crunch situation. It is a really important experience for us to take from and move on."
Earlier, India made what looked like an above par score and all New Zealand batsmen struggled for timing and placement in the chase. Well, everyone apart from Williamson.
Williamson played a captain's knock that included eight boundaries and a stunning six sixes from regulation time to take New Zealand to the brink of victory.
Williamson did the heavy lifting in the second innings and the super over where he took one of the finest bowlers of this generation – Bumrah. He first thrashed Bumrah for three successive boundaries in the 17th over of the chase and then hit him for a six and a four in the super over. But Shami pulled things back dramatically in the 20th over despite being hit for a six the first ball by Taylor before Rohit saved the day for India and take the focus away from Bumrah.
In the end, it was Rohit who rose to the challenge when the pressure was at its greatest. In the first innings, he kept India's run rate up during his innings that had six fours and three sixes. When he departed, India were 94-1 in the 11th over but instead of accelerating, the visitors struggled to maintain the tempo. Leg-spinner Ish Sodhi proved almost impossible to hit as he went for just 23 runs from his four overs.
Updated: January 29, 2020 04:04 PM