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Rohit or Shami? Who Won India the Third T20I Against New Zealand?

Rohit Sharma scored 65 before his heroics in the super over helped India beat New Zealand in the third T20 match.

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Cricket
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With 10 required off two balls in the super over, not many would have predicted an Indian win over New Zealand in the third T20I in Hamilton on Wednesday, 29 January. It also wasn’t the first time Indian fans seemed to have lost all hope in the match.

Moments back, the visitors were left to defend three off five balls with two of New Zealand’s in-form batsmen batting and six wickets in hand.

And yet, the manner in which the Kiwis dug their own grave, coupled with what Rohit Sharma executed in the middle seemed right out of a Bollywood script where it’s sacrilege for an Indian side to lose a match.

Sharma rose up to the task though, lofting Tim Southee for two towering sixes and winning India not just the game but their maiden T20I series in New Zealand.
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Rampant Rohit

Rohit Sharma scored 65 before his heroics in the super over helped India beat New Zealand in the third T20 match.
Rohit Sharma was adjudged Man of the Match for his stellar effort in the third T20 international against New Zealand on Wednesday.
(Photo: Twitter/@VVSLaxman281)

India had never played a T20I Super Over. Their only tied match, prior to the one against New Zealand, was way back in 2007 when a bowl-out had decided the fate in favour of the men-in-blue.

However, Sharma’s effortless carnage made it look like an everyday affair.

Once Tim Southee’s attempted yorkers turned out to be a half volley and a full length delivery, the player with most sixes in T20I history did not need a second invitation.

Sharma had been in fine form throughout the evening. He slammed a 40-ball 65, an innings laced with six boundaries and three sixes, to provide India a good start. It had also helped him become only the fourth batsman to pile up 10,000 international runs as an opener across all formats.

In turn, the 20/0 scored by Sharma and KL Rahul also is the highest number of runs put up on board while chasing a total in a super over of an international match.

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Sizzling Shami

Rohit Sharma scored 65 before his heroics in the super over helped India beat New Zealand in the third T20 match.
Mohammed Shami returned figures of 32/2 in his four overs.
(Photo: Twitter/@BCCI)

And while the duo deserves plaudits for their efforts in helping India cross the finishing line, the unsung hero of the night is probably Mohammed Shami. India were down and out with Kane Williamson anchoring the chase for New Zealand.

With the Kiwis having wickets in hand and the required run rate well under control, Virat Kohli had no choice but to commission Jasprit Bumrah to bowl the penultimate over instead of the last one as is usually the norm.

Bumrah leaked 11 to leave Shami to defend eight off six deliveries.

Ross Taylor welcomed him with a six, virtually killing off the tie. It also allowed him the luxury to take a single off the next ball and let his skipper, batting on 95 then, have a go at reaching his maiden T20I ton. While a six was what the home fans expected for an icing on the cake, Shami played the role of a perfect spoilsport, dismissing Williamson in style.

The skipper edged one behind, and with the fall of an in-form batsman, Shami upped the ante.

Tim Seifert failed to put bat to ball in the first two deliveries he faced, but ensured the match is at least tied by stealing a bye off the fifth ball of the over. And just when Taylor was expected to complete a mandatory victory for the hosts, Shami struck again; this time, a perfect yorker doing the trick. It hadn’t just wrecked Taylor’s timber; it had shaken the morale of the Kiwis as well.

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That they managed to have a whiff at victory yet again was solely down to the lackadaisical over dished out by Bumrah who has not done justice to his name ever since his comeback from injury.

The only super overs Bumrah had bowled so far had been in the Indian Premier League and had seen him leak just four (against Gujarat Lions in 2017) and eight runs (vs Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2019).

On Wednesday, he leaked 17. That it got overshadowed and he didn’t face the flak that cricket fanatic fans of the country usually target their stars with after a dismal show was owing to two reasons — the number of matches Bumrah has won for India and the sublime elegance of Rohit Sharma.

The impressive show from Shami and Bumrah also left the fans in a tizzy as to who to thank for the unreal turn of events that followed at Seddon Park. Here are a few top ones from the Twitter world:

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Topics:  Rohit Sharma    Virat Kohli    KL Rahul 

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