Yet another T20, yet another victory for India. From Auckland to Hamilton, it’s been India thriving in New Zealand, not New Zealand. This was to be the contest New Zealand had to win.
And it did seem, that New Zealand, despite being anchored by perhaps one of the most beautiful yet thrilling feats of batting in the recent times- as seen during their captain’s T20 career-best 95- were simply not good enough.
Surely, there’s one thing that the hosts need and that’s a win. But given the way India has been coming hard at them, time after time, game after game, making New Zealand seem susceptible just when it appears that a win is around the corner- picture the final over with 9 needed off 6- it appears that something is perhaps not quite right.
But then, in a game where New Zealand were the better bowling and batting side, the spinners led by Sodhi keeping India’s scoring in check and later, Williamson all but taking the side home, powering strokeplay and grace as only he could, there were lessons on both sides and some for the fans’ perspective too.
That said, what did we learn from India vs New Zealand 3rd T20 2020?
The Hitman Shines, Not Just With Runs But With Selflessness
For a second, keep the thrilling exploits of Rohit Sharma at bay. This was someone who carved 65 runs from just 40 deliveries before taking India over the line in the super over.
What one learned about India’s able bowler-destructor is the sheer selflessness with which he conducts himself. Wondering how?
Addressing the media post-India’s series-deciding win- that meant India took their very first T20 series win in New Zealand- Rohit Sharma completely defused the praise that came his way.
This, it ought to be remembered, was a knock that included 3 sixes and 4 boundaries during the contest and then 2 back to back sixes in the heart-stopping super-over. He would simply say, “It weren’t my sixes that won the match for India but Shami’s bowling in the final over!”
How’s that from someone who also went past 2,700 T20 runs and completed his twentieth fifty while taking India home? Rohit’s record currently stands at 2713 runs and 20 fifties while his aggregate against the Kiwis reads 278 runs with 3 fifties.
New Zealand Kane Do It, But When?
It is said that Kane Williamson will emerge as the greatest batsman who ever played for New Zealand, by the time he finishes his career. Right? No, wrong! It appears that New Zealand’s admirable captain is already the greatest to have wielded the bat for his country.
For a batsman, who by virtue of his conduct, technique, and stroke-play, seems ever so in the mould of Test cricket- the classical defensive strokes, the watchfulness in batting, the unhurried gait- during India vs New Zealand 3rd T20 2020, Williamson demonstrated why’s he rated so highly.
For someone who arrived in the sixth over and departed only in the last over, with only 3 deliveries remaining, Kane Williamson lifted the side on his own shoulders and came dreadfully close to finishing the game, nearly on his own. Alas,
a career-best 95 off 48, in the very series where his famous rival Kohli’s highest-score, thus far, is a 45 (in the opening T20), Williamson was class and grace personified, albeit batting like a monster, striking his eleventh fifty at a strike rate of 197 and clubbing 6 of his team’s 11 sixes minus any discomfort.
That Williamson departed when all the Kiwis needed was merely a ‘formality’ would’ve sent fans the signal that it was finally ‘victory time’, only for the realization to hit strong that it’s not over until it’s over.
For a team that came so mightily close at keeping the series alive, with its captain leading by example, one wonders whether NZ are going to secure a win or face the unexpected threat of a whitewash?
Never Doubt Mohammed Shami With The White Ball
For someone who saw Shami bowl the final over of the Kiwi run-chase in what was surely a ‘heart-pumping’ contest may have felt slight discomfort given how one’s gotten used to seeing Bumrah do the job, having risen as the ‘go-to’ weapon for India’s death bowling efforts.
While it wasn’t hard to see Bumrah struggle, having been picked for aplenty during India vs New Zealand 3rd T20 2020, wherein Williamson, on his own, made India’s steely exponent of medium-pace appear blunt, Shami given the ball to do the job might have seemed a slight gamble.
On top of it, that prior to entering this contest, Shami with just 10 T20s against his name was perhaps increased the risk whether he would get India over the line.
But on the contrary, one learned that it’s never over when the ball is in the hands of someone like Mohd.
Shami, who not only covered it brilliantly for India, in the end, keeping his cool in adverse situations but also took away the attention from Bumrah’s ordinary day with the ball: 4 0vers – 45- runs- 0 wickets.
Is New Zealand’s batting good enough against unsparing India?
Surely, to suggest that the hosts batting during India vs New Zealand 3rd T20 2020 was ordinary would be putting it bluntly.
But at the same time, to contend that all’s well with the Kiwi line-up that went down fighting or should we say messing it up in the just-concluded encounter would be an overassessment of the side.
If there’s something that the Kiwis need desperately, albeit having lost the opportunity to keep the series alive, then it’s the batting. That needs to click.
So far, at best, the big strength of the side that is famous for playing closely as one unit has seemed patchy with sporadic knocks coming to the fore.
In the opening contest, it was the big fifty-plus stand between the openers that enabled the team to put up a fighting score. That Ross Taylor too, added his flair to up the ante was a huge plus.
But in the end, the extra 10-15 runs that would’ve come in handy were never in the making thanks to an out of form Grandhomme.
That the man who the team promoted to bat up the order- at 4- has thus far contributed with scores like 0, 3 and 5, staying at the most for 12 deliveries in an inning speaks of the team’s middle-order frailties.
What’s not helped the team much is that in Munro, who got off magnificently in the opening contest has only been able to contribute through a 26 and 14, thereafter, has caused sluggishness in an order craving for consistency and smoothness from its hitters.
People are also reading:-
- Which Indian Players could play the key role in the Australia series?
- Virat Kohli Slams 40th ODI Ton: A Look At His Best Centuries Till Date
- Eoin Morgan and Kane Williamson- divided by styles but united by a common purpose!