After heartbreak in the recently concluded T20 World Cup, the Indian team bounced back in a commanding fashion to outclass New Zealand 3-0 in the T20I series at home. Under the astute leadership of Rohit Sharma and the able guidance of Rahul Dravid, the team performed exceedingly well and registered their second clean sweep in a bilateral series against the Kiwis. The Men in Blue won 5-0 away from home before the pandemic in 2020.
With the Indian team taking an unassailable 2-0 lead after winning the last game, the team management rested some of the key players to try out the combinations before the upcoming World Cup. In a bid to get used to batting first and bowling with the wet ball courtesy of the dew factor, Rohit Sharma won the toss and elected to bat first. The skipper and Ishan Kishan got the team off to a flying start and smashed 69 runs inside the field restrictions. However, the southpaw was dismissed on the second ball post the powerplay after scoring a quickfire 29 off 21 deliveries. Despite his wicket, Rohit continued to take the attack to the opposition and scored a scintillating half-century to propel India 184/7 in the first innings.
In reply, the Black Caps lost wickets at regular intervals to bundle out for 111 in 17.2 overs. Martin Guptill was the lone warrior for the side with a well-compiled 51 off 36 deliveries. However, the right-handed batter did not get any support from the batters and eventually lost the game by 73 runs. Here are a few of the notable stats from the game.
Rohit's record-breaking fifty
Rohit Sharma enthralled the crowd at the Eden Gardens with a masterclass as he smashed yet another half-century to lay a solid foundation for the Indian team in the first innings. En route to his sublime knock of 56 off 31 deliveries studded with five fours and three sixes, the right-handed batter scored his 30th fifty. It was Rohit's 26th score over 50 along with his four centuries to surpass Virat Kohli's tally of 29 scores over the 50-run mark.
Skipper smashes 150 sixes in T20Is
One of the most destructive opening batters in the modern era, Rohit Sharma became the second player to smash 150 sixes in the shortest format of the game. Moreover, Rohit became the first Indian player to achieve this rare feat en route to his three massive sixes in the innings. Martin Guptill is on top of the list with 165 hits over the fence.
Axar weaves his magic in the powerplay
In pursuit of 185 runs, New Zealand got off to a horrendous start in the powerplay as they lost three wickets with 30 runs on the board. Axar Patel, with his left-arm spin, wreaked havoc at the top of the order as he scalped the big wicket of Daryl Mitchell on the first ball of his spell to dent the Kiwis. The right-handed batter tried to hit the ball over covers but managed to get a thick edge with Harshal Patel completing the catch. On the last ball of the same over, Axar got the better of Mark Chapman as he was stumped for zero.
The 27-year old picked up the prized wicket of Glenn Phillips in the fifth over to derail the batting unit of the Kiwis and register figures of 3/2 inside the powerplay, which is the third-best by an Indian bowler in this format. R Ashwin is on top of the list with four wickets for five runs against Sri Lanka in Visakhapatnam in 2016.
Thumping win for India
A clinical performance by the Indian team resulted in a thumping 73-run in the final game. The margin of the victory is also the biggest for the Men in Blue against the Kiwi's and the sixth occasion when the Indian team has whitewashed an opponent. In 2017, a 53-run win at Delhi is the second-largest margin of victory for India against New Zealand.