Young India thrash the Kiwis for a whitewash victory

By Kersi Meher-Homji

Gliding on the super batting of skipper Rohit Sharma and left-arm spin bowling of Axar Patel, India won the third and final T20I match by 73 runs and the series 3-0.

What a whitewash victory!

I was surprised when I first read the names of the Indian team. No Lokesh Rahul, no Ravi Ashwin, no Ravindra Jadeja… They were replaced by new faces.

But the young team did India proud.

Batting after winning the toss, Sharma (56 runs with 5 fours and 3 sixes) and Ishan Kishan (29 with 6 elegant fours) put on 69 runs for the first wicket off 32 balls. There was a mid- order collapse as the new Kiwi skipper Mitchell Santner took three wickets. But India’s tail wagged and India made a challenging 7 for 184 in 20 overs.

New Zealand’s reply was pathetic. Apart from their opening batsman Martin Guptill scoring a quick fire 51 with 4 fours and 4 sixes, others folded to Indian spinners. The most effective was Axar Patel who captured three wickets. NZ could total only 111 and lost by 73 runs.

It would have been worse for them if their only successful batsman Guptill was not dropped when he had made only 17 runs.

Axar Patel was made Person of the Match and skipper Rohit Sharma Player of the Series.

Said Rohit at the presentation, “It’s important to start well whenever I’ve batted. That’s always been my mindset, to give the team a good start. Once you see the pitch and know the conditions, you know what you need to do as a batter. It was coming on to the bat nicely in the Powerplay so you want to get a good start and carry on. We had a plan.

“We could have done better in the middle overs but I was happy with the way the lower order finished. Harshal Patel did well in the last two games, and the spinners did the job for us in the entire series. Ashwin, Axar, and then Chahal bowling after a long period of time did well. Venkatesh bowling those overs with the skill he has can be useful going forward.

“If you see the teams going around the world, they bat very deep. Number 8 and 9 can play a big role. Harshal when he plays for Haryana, he opens the batting for them so he’s a good batter. Deepak, we saw what he did in Sri Lanka. I’ve grown up playing on cement and concrete pitches back in the day and once I started opening the batting that changed my approach… When you have a strength, you have to play to it and not worry about getting out and express yourself. Playing the short pitched ball is one of my strengths so I just try to play to that and get the maximum result.”

Bravo Rohit!

This whitewash 3-0 series win will be an encouragement for India to win the two-Test series starting on Thursday. The first Test will be played at Kanpur from 25 to 29 November and the second at Mumbai from 3 to 7 December.

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