The stand-in skipper for New Zealand Mitchell Santner had to precede over another defeat as India beat his team by 73 runs in the third T20I in Kolkata. After playing the ICC T20 World Cup final where they lost to Australia, the Kiwis were perhaps tired. Although Santner led from the front picking up three crucial wickets of Ishan Kishan, Surya Kumar Yadav and Rishabh Pant.
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“Tough one to predict what the dew is going to be like. They bowled very well at the top, especially Axar. Credit to India for the way they played throughout the series. We were probably off. Came up against a very good Indian side. There were periods in every game,” Santner said. Meanwhile Indian openers were on the money as the pair of Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul put the Kiwis on the backfoot in both the games in Jaipur and Ranchi. Santner made sure that he gives credit to the pair. “Pressure Rahul and Rohit put on us was tough to come back from. He’s obviously a great player for us (Kane). With the schedule being quite tight, it gives other guys an opportunity.”
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He also sounded positive, pointing out at the various bright spots that were on display by the visiting side. With the next T20 World Cup not even a year away, he said Guptill’s performance was perhaps the biggest takeaway from all of this.
“With the WC being in 11 months time you always look ahead. The way Guptill batted at the top, different guys chipping in at different times (positives). Challenging as a spinner with dew around. Second game was very wet. The way Ashwin and Axar adapted.”
Earlier India bowled really well to bundle New Zealand out for just 111 to win the game by 73 runs. In his bid to test the team’s character by batting first, the skipper Rohit Sharma led the way with a 56 off 31 balls with five fours and three sixes but despite a blazing start, the Indians stuttered in the middle overs before Harshal Patel (18 off 11 balls) and Deepak Chahar (21 not out off 8 balls) used their long handles which fetched 50 runs in last five overs. Ishan Kishan (29 off 21 balls), Shreyas Iyer (25 off 20 balls) and Venkatesh Iyer (20 off 15 balls) all got starts but couldn’t convert it into a big score.
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