After having lost their previous four Super Sixes fixtures, India registered their first win of the competition, by a margin of 6 runs, in a last-over thriller against New Zealand. Meanwhile, a more confident New Zealand side were handed defeat despite Martin Guptill’s gigantic efforts.
After the toss, India batted first with both openers looking in invincible form and the New Zealand bowlers found no way out to get a hold of them. Both KL Rahul (85* off 50) and Rohit Sharma (91 off 59) fired mercilessly at the New Zealand bowlers and built a first wicket partnership of 167 runs which was only broken in the 17th over. Rahul remained unbeaten till the end and saw India post a gigantic total of 207/4 after 20 overs.
In reciprocation to the target of 208, New Zealand looked fairly confident with Martin Guptill taking charge of the batting right from the start. He got significant help from his opening partner Colin Munro (51 off 37). Up until Guptill’s wicket in the 18th over it was a neck to neck fight between the two teams but some superb death bowling, powered by Navdeep Saini and Jasprit Bumrah, saw India win the game by 6 runs in the end.
To me, the turning point of the game was Kane Williamson’s dismissal in the first delivery of the 19th over. New Zealand were just recovering from the loss of Martin Guptill’s wicket in the previous over. But after Williamson’s dismissal, the pressure naturally shifted on New Zealand and India took full advantage of it.
Highs and Lows
I believe the high of the game was the 18th over in New Zealand’s innings. Ahead of that over, they still required 44 runs off just 18 deliveries. But the 18th over saw New Zealand adding 18 runs despite Guptill, the set batsman, departing. At the end of that over the Kiwis were on 182/2, with Taylor hitting a six off the last delivery and only 26 runs required off the final couple of overs.
According to me, the low of this game was Virat Kohli’s consistently poor form. After a golden duck against England, the Indian captain once again failed against South Africa, scoring only 13 off 5, and 14 off 11 against Pakistan in the previous game. And today, despite India being at a commanding position, Kohli came in and only added 9 off 5 when he could’ve stayed and treated the fans with a show for the next couple of overs.
Powerplay exploitation: - India (7.5/10) and New Zealand (8/10)
At the end of the Powerplay, India were on 50/0, a promising score given they hadn’t lost any wickets. While Rohit Sharma was already charging at the bowlers with 29* off 17 at that point, KL Rahul was taking it slow and steady as he was on 20* off 19 at the end of the first six overs. It was only a matter of time that the two batsmen fired uncontrollably against the New Zealand bowling attack.
On the other hand, chasing a gigantic target of 208, New Zealand were on 55 for no loss at the end of the first six overs of their innings. Both Guptill ( who was on 21* off 14) and Munro ( who was on 34 off 22) looked confident in the chase and they set the right tone for the chase despite having Jasprit Bumrah control the run rate considerably during the Powerplay.
Middle overs:- India (10/10) and New Zealand (9/10)
The opening partnership between KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma, that was on 50 at the end of the Powerplay, accelerated when the innings moved into the middle overs. With the start of the 9th over, both the openers started whacking the Kiwi bowlers all around the park and in between the 7th and the 15th over they added 98 runs without losing a wicket. At the end of the 15th over, India looked extremely strong on 148/0 with Rohit on 73* off 48 and Rahul on 68* off 42.
On the other hand, New Zealand looked equally strong in the middle overs barring one hiccup in the form of Colin Munro’s dismissal in the 11th over. However, with Kane Williamson joining Guptill, who was already looking pretty strong and in-form, New Zealand recovered from the dismissal immediately. At the end of 15 overs, New Zealand were on 142/1 with 66 runs required off the final five overs.
Death Bowling: - New Zealand (6/10) and India (9/10)
At the end of the 15th over, India were able to set the perfect stage to post a 200+ total with both Sharma and Rahul taking charge. The Indian batsmen whacked the Kiwi bowling attack left, right, and center with the 18th over, bowled by Trent Boult, being the most expensive one, squeezing out 18 runs. In the last five overs, India added 59 runs and lost four wickets but those dismissals were rendered inconsequential.
On the other hand, Indian bowlers got whacked too as New Zealand had no other option because they needed 66 runs off the final five overs. Even though Navdeep Saini conceded 18 runs in the 18th over, he dismissed the danger man, Martin Guptill. In the 20th over, Saini returned to defend 13 runs and he successfully did it by bagging two wickets, thus helping India win by 6 runs.
Match Frenzy O Meter - Excellent
It was naturally one of the best games so far in the Super Sixes competition as India and New Zealand produced a game of equals which had all the components that make a T20 contest great. The match was a high scoring last-over thriller and at no point a one-sided affair.
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