Hardik Pandya was a happy captain after India won the three-match T20I series against New Zealand 1-0 after the third and final T20I at Napier was tied via the DLS method after the rain came pouring down during India’s chase.
Batting first after winning the toss, New Zealand posted 160 with Devon Conway and Glenn Phillips hitting half-centuries. For India, Mohammed Siraj with 4/17 and Arshdeep Singh with 4/37 was the picks of the bowlers.
In reply, India made 75/4 in 9 overs with Hardik Pandya remaining unbeaten on 30, as rains came down heavily with India at par with the DLS score. After a while, the umpires decided to call the match a tie as the rains returned after a brief stoppage.
This gave India a 1-0 series win as they had won the second T20I in Mount Maunganui by 65 runs. This was the second series win for India under the captaincy of Hardik Pandya, who had previously led the Men in Blue to T20I series win over Ireland in June.
After the match, India captain Hardik Pandya said: “Would have liked to win the game by playing the full overs, but it is what it is. At some point, I felt attack is the best defence on this wicket. We know the kind of bowling attacks they have, it was very important to get those 10-15 runs extra even though we lost a couple of wickets. A game like this could have given us an opportunity to test some of the players, but having said that, weather is something we cannot control. I'm going back home, taking my time off and be with my son.”
Mohammed Siraj was named the Player of the Match for his career-best T20I figures of 4/17.
He said: “The wicket wasn't easy to bat and I was prepared to bowl hard lengths which gave me the rewards. I prepared myself to bowl hard lengths and had so much practice during World Cup and I just executed my plans. I always keep it simple. Just bowl the hard lengths. The weather is not in our hands, happy with the series win.”
Suryakumar Yadav was named the Player of the Series in which his 111* in 51 balls in the second T20I was a highlight knock.
He said: “Really happy with the way things have gone till now, would have loved a full game here but as Siraj said the weather is not in our hands. The pressure is always there and at the same time I'm enjoying my batting, just going there and expressing myself. Not carrying any baggage out there. The intent and approach will remain the same. We can just go out and express ourselves, would have loved a full game, but that's fine.”
The series will now move to ODIs, with the first match being played at Eden Park, Auckland on November 25. India will be captained in that series by Shikhar Dhawan. The second and third ODIs will be played on November 27 and November 30th respectively.
(Prime Video inputs)