Rohit pulls off a sensational Super Over win

Rohit Sharma pulls off a sensational Super Over win

India’s Rohit Sharma (L) celebrates with KL Rahul (C) after hitting the winning runs as New Zealand’s Tim Southee (R) looks on during the third Twenty20 cricket match between New Zealand and India at Seddon Park in Hamilton on January 29, 2020. (AFP Photo)

Rohit Sharma smashed consecutive sixes in the final two balls of the thrilling Super Over, leading India to their maiden T20 series win in New Zealand following a nerve-wracking finish in the third match here on Wednesday.

Needing 18 off six balls in the Super Over, India had managed just 10 off the first four balls.

Then, Rohit smacked two big hits, one over mid-wicket and the other over long off, to help India pull off a nail-biter.

Before the Super Over, New Zealand had it all under control with two runs needed off four balls and six wickets in hand to overhaul India’s 179 for five.

However, the hosts threw it away from a comfortable position as Mohammad Shami bowled a brilliant death over to tie the game, stretching it to a Super Over, bringing back memories of the 2019 World Cup final which New Zealand agonisingly lost to England on boundary count.

New Zealand captain Kane Williamon did all he could, both in the run chase (95 off 48 balls) and the Super Over (11), but it did not prove to be enough to get his team over the line in a must-win game.

It was Williamson’s highest T20 score as the Black Caps scored 179/6 (20 overs) in reply to India’s 179/5 (20 overs). Rohit’s 65 off 40 balls had propelled the visitors after they were put into bat.

India’s first T20 series win in New Zealand came after a 1-2 loss to the Black Caps almost 12 months ago.

On Wednesday, India’s fielding effort was poor, including an easy drop from Ravindra Jadeja with Jasprit Bumrah (0-45) proving expensive on the night.

Bumrah went for 11 runs in the penultimate over. Shami (2/32) conceded a six off the first ball of the 20th but then removed both Williamson and bowled Ross Taylor (17 off 10 balls) in the next five balls to snatch a tie.

In the ensuing Super Over, Williamson and Martin Guptill combined for another 17 runs with two fours and a six as Bumrah’s off night continued. In response, Rohit and KL Rahul did the needful for India with aplomb.

Earlier, Rohit came good after after missing out in the twin Auckland T20Is. Rohit’s blitz included six fours and three sixes as he put on 89 runs for the first wicket with KL Rahul (27 off 19 balls). This was after New Zealand won a third straight toss, but opted to field this time around. The hosts made one change with Scott Kuggeleijn coming in for Blair Tickner. India remained unchanged for the second game running.

Rohit and Rahul then teed off immediately as New Zealand bowlers struggled to come to terms with the slow pace of the Seddon Park pitch. Rohit got to his half-century off 23 balls as he smacked 27 runs off Bennett’s second over. It was the third time he had scored a T20I half-century off as many balls, with his fastest coming off 22 balls against West Indies in 2016.

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