India won the toss, batted first and posted a tall 184 for seven in the final T20I against New Zealand at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata, thanks to Rohit Sharma's 26th T20I half century and two good cameos from the lower order in the form of Harshal Patel (18 off 11) and Deepak Chahar (21 not out off eight).
Apart from Sharma, Ishan Kishan (29), Venkatesh Iyer (20) and Shreyas Iyer (25) also got good starts but they failed to capitalise. Mitchell Santner (3 for 27) was the highest wicket-taker for the Kiwis.
Openers Sharma and Kishan gave India a flying start. The duo looked in sublime touch and played some glorious hosts, taking India to 69/0 at the end of Powerplay.
However, the Black Caps brought in spinners after the field restrictions were lifted and it did wonders for them. Bowling the 7th over, Kiwi stand-in captain Santner dismissed Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav (0) in a gap of few deliveries to peg India back.
With two wickets falling in quick succession, Sharma and Rishabh Pant had the responsibility to build a new partnership. But Pant (4), who had a shaky start in the middle, mistimed Santner's delivery to get out, leaving India in trouble at 83/3 after nine overs.
From there, Sharma and Shreyas Iyer, who walked in at No 5, tried to bring India back into the game by rotating strikes regularly. During the process, the Indian captain hit his 26th T20I fifty in just 27 deliveries with a cracking four. India wanted their captain to carry on even after his fifty, but Ish Sodhi sent Sharma (56) back with a superb caught and bowled effort.
At 103-4 in 11.2 overs, India were in a spot of bother, and two Iyers (Venkatesh and Shreyas) out in the middle needed to steady the innings. They took their time to settle in and hit occasional boundaries and take India to 133/4 after 15 overs.
With five more overs to go, both Iyers decided to break the shackles but they failed to do so and were dismissed in consecutive deliveries. While Trent Boult got rid of Venkatesh (20) in the last ball of the 16th over, Adam Milne dismissed Shreyas (25) in the first delivery of the 17th over.
By losing crucial wickets, India lost the required momentum at the death overs and it was time for the two Patels (Harshal and Axar) to take the hosts to a competitive score. And, Harshal, who bats at the top score for Haryana, showed his batting skills and played a decent cameo of 18 runs before getting out to Lockie Ferguson in the 19th over.
In the end, Deepak Chahar (21) also hit two boundaries and a six in the last over of the innings to steer India to 184 for seven.
Brief Scores: India 184/7 in 20 overs (Rohit Sharma 56, Ishan Kishan 29; Mitchell Santner 3/27) vs New Zealand
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