A thrilling super-over as six-king Rohit brings India an electrifying victory

By Kersi Meher-Homji

What a week of exciting tennis at the Australian Open in Melbourne and an exhilarating tied T20 cricket International at Hamilton!

This was the third T20 match between India and New Zealand, India winning by six wickets in the first match at Auckland and by seven wickets in the second also at Auckland in this five match series.

India had only to win the third match at Hamilton last night (29th January) to win the five match series. But thanks to a magnificent 95 (enriched with 8 fours and 6 sixes) by the New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson, the home team appeared all set to win the match and keep the series alive.

The Kiwis only needed two runs in the last four balls to win but India’s fast-medium bowler Mohammad Shami took two wickets in the final breathtaking over, dismissing the well-set Williamson and Ross Taylor and the match was tied.

Here are the hair-raising details. Sent in to bat India made 5 for 179 (Rohit Sharma 65 runs with 6 fours and 3 sixes, captain Virat Kohli 38).

Needing 179 runs to win, NZ was victory-bound at 4 for 178, only two runs needed in the last four balls. But bowler Shami did not lose hope and dismissed their in-form batsmen Williamson and Taylor conceding only one run. “A tie, another tie!” screamed the commentators!

And all present remembered the tie in the Final of the 2019 World Cup last July in which NZ had lost to England.

In the super over, NZ scored 17 runs. Opening with Rohit Sharma and Lokesh Rahul, India scored 14 off the first five balls, needing four to win off the last ball to win the electrifying match. Man of the Match Rohit hit a six to win the match and the series.

Although delighted with India’s victory, I felt sad for the New Zealanders, especially their captain Williamson.

He kept his sense of humour after his side went down in yet another Super Over, but said that upon looking back, they should have closed the game out in their regular batting innings.

Williamson added in jest about the Super Over. “It is what it is. It’s good fun, isn’t it? It’s a full house at midnight or whatever time it is. That’s pretty cool. It’s good entertainment. I’m probably not the best person to ask because we came second in the Super Over tonight like a few other times. So yeah, not ideal. But I guess if people enjoyed that to decide the match, then that’s fun.

“Super Overs certainly haven’t been our friend, but I think if we’re being brutally honest we would’ve liked to have perhaps got across the line before requiring a win in the Super Over. But I guess if we reflect on the match altogether, it was a brilliant game.”

What a good sportsman!

India meets NZ at Wellington tomorrow and at Maungani on Sunday.

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