India crushed New Zealand by a margin of 168 runs in the third T20 International held at the Narendra Modi Stadium yesterday, registering a 2-1 victory in the T20I series in the process. This is India’s 25th bilateral series victory in T20Is, with the Men in Blue becoming invincible at home ahead of the highly-anticipated ICC ODI World Cup later this year.
Hardik Pandya’s men also registered the biggest victory by run-margin in the shortest format of the game between any two full members of the ICC last night.
As the Men in Blue relish in their victory for a few days before the start of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, here’s a look at the top performers from India vs New Zealand T20I series.
#5: Suryakumar Yadav
Suryakumar Yadav continued with his superb form in the three-match T20I series, scoring 97 runs at an average of 48.50 to become the second-highest run-scorer for India in the series.
The 32-year-old started the series with a brilliant knock in the first T20I in Ranchi, stabilising India’s innings after the top-order collapsed in the first three overs. His calculated 47-run knock in 34 balls laid the platform for India’s chase, but the Men in Blue could not build upon his innings, losing the game by 21 runs.
While he failed to score a half-century in the series, Suryakumar Yadav retained the No.1 rank in the ICC T20 batsmen rankings thanks to his effort in the first game.
After bagging the ICC Men’s T20 Player of the Year award for his phenomenal breakthrough last year, Suryakumar Yadav made a steady start to the year with the bat and is expected to play a prominent role in Team India’s plans in limited-overs cricket in the upcoming months.
#4: Arshdeep Singh
Despite drawing much scrutiny for his tendency to bowl no-balls at crucial junctures of the game, Arshdeep Singh has become the go-to man for Team India in the death overs.
Arshdeep Singh conceded 7 no-balls in the last over of the first T20I, which might have cost the Men in Blue the first game. But the left-arm seamer is proving to be an able replacement for Jasprit Bumrah in the shortest-format of the game, learning from his mistakes and delivering the variety needed in the death overs to take wickets.
He ended the three-match series as India’s top wicket-taker, picking up five wickets at an average of 14.80. In the second T20I, Hardik Pandya turned to Arshdeep Singh to bowl the final overs, a trust which he reposed by picking up two wickets and conceding just seven runs.
In the third T20I, Arshdeep Singh took the wickets of Devon Conway and Mark Chapman in the same over, skittling New Zealand’s run chase.
#3: Daryl Mitchell
Daryl Mitchell was the lone star for the visitors in the three-match series, scoring 102 runs at an average of 51.00. In the absence of veterans like Kane Williamson, it fell to the 31-year-old to rescue the Black Caps, doing so successfully in the first T20I.
His 59-run knock came at a lightning pace in Ranchi, where he blasted three 4s and five 6s at a strike rate of 196.67 to take the visitors to 176/6.
While he failed to spark in the second T20I along with his teammates, Daryl Mitchell was once again the saving grace for the Black Caps in the third T20I.
With a 35-run knock that saw three 6s, Daryl Mitchell looked like he could turn around the game for a while before his eventual dismissal by Umran Malik. Alongside captain Mitchell Santner, he was the only player to reach the two-digit mark for the visitors yesterday.
#2: Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya’s evolution as India’s captain in the shortest-format of the game will come as a relief for the management, with the 29-year-old embracing the role of an all-rounder captain for the Men in Blue.
Apart from leading the team to a 2-1 series victory over the visitors, Hardik Pandya also bagged the Player of the Series award for his contributions with the bat and the ball during the three-match series.
Hardik Pandya is emulating the role of Mahendra Singh Dhoni as a captain, playing deep into the night while his teammates play aggressively around him. In the series, India’s skipper scored just 66 runs at a strike rate of 115.79 – showing the conservative approach that the 29-year-old is now displaying on the field.
But he has taken a leading role in India’s bowling attack, bowling 11 overs in the series and taking five wickets at an average of 14.80.
#1: Shubman Gill
After failing to spark in the first T20Is, Shubman Gill answered his critics in an emphatic manner by scoring an unbeaten century last night to propel India to series victory.
His unbeaten 126-run knock is now the highest score by an Indian in the shortest-format of the game, eclipsing Virat Kohli’s 122-run knock against Afghanistan.
Shubman Gill’s 126-run knock came in just 63 deliveries with a strike rate of 200.00. He scored twelve 4s and seven 6s in his inning – a feat that is difficult given the large boundaries of the Ahmedabad Stadium.
With his double-century in the ODI series against New Zealand, Shubman Gill had a breakthrough start to the year. With his performance last night, Shubman Gill has now cemented his place as India’s first-choice opener in limited-overs cricket.
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