The home fans at Greenfield International Stadium were treated to a brilliant performance from the India bowlers, who helped the home team beat New Zealand in the series-decider by six runs on Tuesday, November 7.
With rain playing spoil sport, the 20-over game was shortened to eight overs, where India did not score as much as they would have wanted. They compiled 67 runs from their 8 overs, and there was a serious need for the bowlers to step up their game to set up an India win. That is exactly what happened with the likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Yuzvendra Chahal showing their class against the Kiwis in pressure situations too.
India win by 6 runs
8th over: Hardik Pandya to bowl the final over of the match. Single (bye) from the first ball. It is getting interesting as Grandhomme hits a big six, and NZ still require 12 from 3 balls. Pandya under pressure as he bowls a wide ball. 10 runs from 2 balls now - NZ just manages 2+1 to help India win by six runs.
7th over: Bumrah strikes with the first ball of the over as Nicholls is caught at long leg. NZ are running for everything, and Tom Bruce is run out. 10 runs from the over. NZ 49/4
6th over: Chahal with his final over, and dot balls are applauded by the home crowd. Two runs from five balls, and the last ball of the over is only a single. ONLY THREE RUNS FROM THE OVER. NZ 39/4
5th over: NZ are struggling as Kuldeep Yadav is bowling a tight line and length, not giving much room to free their arms. And Hardik Pandya runs out Kane WIlliamson, brilliant from the Baroda man. Next ball - another wicket as Shikhar latches onto a catch in the boundary line. Grandhomme strikes it long in the last ball of the over, which makes it two wickets and 10 runs from the over. NZ 36/4.
4th over: Bhuvi to finish his quota of overs with his second of the game. Phillips with two back-to-back boundaries, and NZ score 10 runs from the over. NZ 26/2
3rd over: Leggie Yuzvendra Chahal into action. First four balls - just gives two runs, and another couple in the final ball. Just five from the over. India bowlers doing well so far. NZ 16/2.
2nd over: Bumrah from the other end. Two dot balls, then Munro skies the ball, and Rohit Sharma takes a good catch to send the home crowd into a frenzy mode. Brilliant from the pacer, who just concedes three runs. NZ 11/2
1st over: Bhuvi to start for India with the white ball. Colin Munro comes down the track. What a shot! Six, it is. India strikes with Bhuvi, who dismisses Martin Guptill. NZ 8/1
NZ need 68 runs to win
Though India might not have scored much in the first innings, it is not going to be easy for NZ as the pitch has something for the bowlers, making run-scoring difficult. Can India's bowlers do the job for India?
8th over: Trent Boult with the final over, and Manish Pandey is sent back to the dugout after Santner's brilliance on the field. Pandya not finding the middle of his bat. Six runs from the final over of the innings, and that is brilliant from the pacer. India 67/5 (8 overs)
7th over: Hardik Pandya does what he does best - takes on a spinner, and hits a six. 11 runs from Santner's over. India 61/4
6th over: Manish Pandey hits a six. Shreyas Iyer loses his wicket while going for a maximum. India 50/4
5th over: Good bowling from Tim Southee, who bowls a number of slower deliveries. Manish Pandey manages a four and the rest are all singles and couples. India 40/3
4th over: India are in the backfoot. 31/3.
Kohli is gone, big wicket for NZ. The crowd goes super silent.
3rd over: India are 18/2. Kohli and Iyer at the middle.
WICKET! Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma are gone in succession.
2nd over: Rohit Sharma is troubled by Santner, who gets some decent purchase from the wicket. India 14/0
1st over: India have started decently. 7/0
NZ wins toss, put India to bat first
New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson, after winning the toss, has asked India to bat first in the series-decider on Tuesday. Kohli, later on, also said that he was also looking to bowl first in the third T20I.
This is a winner-takes-all contest with the series tied at 1-1, which makes the final and the third T20I even more entertaining in Thiruvananthapuram.
India: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Manish Pandey, Shreyas Iyer, Virat Kohli(c), Hardik Pandya, MS Dhoni(w), Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal
New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Kane Williamson(c), Tom Bruce, Glenn Phillips(w), Henry Nicholls, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Trent Boult
There seems to be cracks on the pitch, but with the game being shortened, one expects batsmen to bag headlines in this encounter.
Rain dominated proceedings, early on
9:10: Toss at 9:15, match at 9:30. Eight over game.
8:38pm IST: The drizzle has stopped in Thiruvananthapuram. The groundsmen have rushed into the pitch to get the field ready. Good news is that the covers have come off. In case of no more rain, we might reportedly have a start at around 9:30pm. A five over-match in all possibility.
Things not looking good.
UPDATE (7:10 pm): These gloomy faces and umbrellas tell you the entire story.
The much-anticipated series-decider between India and New Zealand might have been a sell out, but rain has played spoilsport in the third T20 on Tuesday even before a single ball has been bowled.
As a result the toss has been delayed at Greenfield International Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram. It seems that the umpires have come out in the middle, but they are with their umbrellas, meaning that the rain has not stopped.
However, the match should start if the rain stops on time as the drainage system at Greenfield International Stadium is said to be one of the best in India.