3rd T20I: Kiwi bowlers tighten screws as India finish on 179/5
Hamilton: New Zealand paceman Hamish Bennett took three wickets to put Rohit Sharma’s half century in a shade as the hosts restricted India to 179/5 in 20 overs in the third T20I at Seddan Park on Wednesday.
Bennett (3/54) nabbed two wickets in three balls to remove Rohit Sharma, who slammed a 40-ball 65 including six fours and three sixes, and Shivam Dube (3) early on and then claimed the prized scalp of Indian skipper Virat Kohli (38) in the 19th over as India never really got going after the initial flourish.
Manish Pandey’s 14-run cameo along with Ravindra Jadeja’s 10 off five helped India reach a defendable total in the end. The tourists were off to a blazing start with in-form K.L. Rahul and Rohit looking in ominous form.
India raced to 69/0 in the first six overs and it looked like New Zealand’s ploy of asking India to bat first to blunt their strength of chasing would fall flat.
But Colin de Grandhomme’s first over of the series broke the 89-run stand as Rahul was taken at point by Colin Munro in the ninth over as he was undone by the extra bounce on offer.
All-rounder Shivam Dube was promoted up the order to No.3 to continue the onslaught but a double strike by Hamish Bennett in the 11th over meant both Rohit and Dube (3) were sent back in quick succession.
While Rohit holed out to Tim Southee at long on, Dube sliced a back of a length delivery to Ish Sodhi at third man.
Kohli took a bit of time to get going as the Kiwis held the upper hand before the Indian captain smashed a six and a four off Mitchell Santner in the 15th over which yielded 13 runs as India moved to 127/3.
Shreyas Iyer looked to heap more misery on Santner as he hit a six off his first ball in the 17th over, but the left-arm spinner had the last laugh on his home ground as he changed the pace to outsmart the batsman who was stumped by Tim Seifert.
Kohli tried to change gears but was caught at extra-cover by Southee off Bennett. India, though, made some ground in the final over as Pandey and Jadeja hit a six each to take 18 off Southee’s over.
Brief Scores: India: 179/5 in 20 overs (Rohit Sharma 65; Hamish Bennett 3/54); New Zealand