Siraj stars, match tied on DLS, India win T20I series
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Fortune did not side with the cricket fans who turned up in great numbers in Napier, as the third T20I between New Zealand and India finished in a tie after the match was stopped halfway through the second innings due to rain.
Earlier in the day, Glenn Phillips and Devon Conway seemed well set to take New Zealand to a huge total, but the Indian fast bowlers were nearly unplayable in the death overs. Mohammed Siraj smeared some nasty bumpers, returning with career best figures in T20Is, while Arshdeep Singh picked up four wickets as well.
Fireworks from Glenn Phillips
Stand-in skipper Tim Southee won the toss and decided to bat first but New Zealand lost two early wickets in the powerplay. The Indian spinners, Yuzvendra Chahal and Deepak Hooda, then kept it tight in the middle overs.
However, Phillips and Conway added 86 runs for the third wicket to bring the Kiwis back in the game. Phillips continued his terrific form, shifting to fifth gear by taking on the spinners. He finished with 54 runs in 33 balls, and Conway brought up his half-century as well.
MVP stuff from Miyan Bhai!
At 129/2 in 15 overs, New Zealand were eying a huge finish but were deprived of it by the brilliance of Mohammed Siraj. His short deliveries at searing pace made life difficult for the Kiwis, who lost eight wickets in a span of 28 balls, which included the dangerous Phillips in the 16th over. He then picked up two more wickets in the 18th, finishing with career-best figures of 4/17. Arshdeep assisted the Hyderabadi pacer brilliantly, picking up three wickets in the death overs.
Add to it, Siraj also produced a stunning throw from point and ran out Adam Milne. MVP performance indeed! New Zealand got bowled out for 160 runs in 19.4 overs.
The Kiwis were off to a brilliant start with the ball, picking up three wickets quickly to put India on the back foot. After Milne got the better of Ishan Kishan, Tim Southee dismissed Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer off successive deliveries.
India were reduced to 21/3 in three overs.
Skipper Hardik’s counter-attack
The early wickets did not seem to faze skipper Hardik Pandya. He smashed three boundaries in the fourth over, followed by two sixes in the next two. The clouds hovering around perhaps sustained the Surya magic, who fell to Ish Sodhi early for a change.
When the rain Gods decided enough was enough and opened the floodgates, India’s scorecard read 75/4 in 9 overs, right on level with the DLS par score. Pandya was batting on 30 off 18 deliveries, and both teams would have fancied their chances, but alas, the game never resumed.
The ODI series between the sides will begin in Auckland on November 25.
Brief Scores: New Zealand 160 all out in 19.4 overs (Devon Conway 59, Mohammed Siraj 4/17) tied India 75/4 in 9 overs (Hardik Pandya 30*, Tim Southee 2/27)