Jasprit Bumrah picked up two wickets    IANS
Jasprit Bumrah picked up two crucial wickets IANS

India came on top of New Zealand in a rain-curtailed 8-over contest in the T20I series decider at Greenfield Stadium, Thiruvananthapuram. Batting first, India had no choice but to go bonkers from ball one. There was moisture in the surface, which resulted in initial movement and the ball holding back a tad. India somehow managed 67 for 5, but it was their bowlers who defended the total with 6 runs still in the bank. Yuzvendra Chahal and Jasprit Bumrah’s smart bowling tilted the match in hosts’ favour.

Just the start India needed

Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Bumrah began on similar fashion (following New Zealand bowlers). Bhuvi was hammered for a big six, but his knuckle ball rattled Martin Guptill’s stumps. Bumrah kept the pressure on in the second over: he bowled quick and just short off a good length. He removed the dangerous Colin Munro though the credit for the wicket should go to Rohit Sharma. Rohit took a splendid catch running backwards, timing his jump to perfection.

Kohli bowls Bhuvi out

A bowler was eligible to bowl a maximum of two overs. With New Zealand losing both openers in quick time, Kohli brought back Bhuvi in the fourth over. This meant that Kohli had only one over of pace (from Bumrah) available to him, but he risked it anyway. Bhuvi kept things tight but ended up conceding 10.

Chahal kept it on the off

Kuldeep gave away 10 runs from his first over, the fifth of the match, but also picked up a wicket. While Kane Williamson was run out, Glenn Phillip went for a glory slog and was caught by Shikhar Dhawan.

The next over, a make-or-break one, was bowled by Yuzvendra Chahal. He kept things simple: he kept bowling away from the batsmen with a packed off-side field. His 3-run over tilted the match completely in India’s favour.

Bumrah provides final touch

After Chahal’s dry over, Kohli went for the kill. He brought in his best death bowler to bowl the penultimate over. Bumrah removed Tom Bruce and gave Hardik Pandya enough cushion to defend in the final over. Pandya started well but went for a huge six off the third ball. The equation read 11 off 3 balls.

Colin de Grandhomme could have taken New Zealand across the line, but he however, was left stranded at the other end with two balls left. Mitchell Santner tried, but India won by 6 runs.

Earlier…

New Zealand were impressive with ball. Their bowlers read the pitch and bowled off cutters from ball one. Trent Boult and Tim Southee kept things tight, and Southee removed the Indian openers in a flash quickly.

The middle overs saw India going hard, only to be restricted by the pitch. Manish Pandey and Pandya played a few shots and propelled the score to 67 for 5. Ish Sodhi became the highest wicket-taker in India-New Zealand T20Is, surpassing Daniel Vettori.

Brief scores:

India 67 for 5 in 8 overs (Virat Kohli 13, Manish Pandey 17; Tim Southee 2 for 13, Ish Sodhi 2 for 23) beat New Zealand 61 for 8 in 8 overs (Glenn Phillip 11, Colin de Grandhomme 17*; Jasprit Bumrah 2 for 9) by 6 runs.

Man of the Match: Jasprit Bumrah.

Man of the Series: Jasprit Bumrah.