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Yuzvendra Chahal personifies the term 'calm'! If MS Dhoni was worried about who would take over the tag of being an 'iceman', he would surely pick our humble & soft-spoken leggie. In a series decider, the situation was tense but he still managed to hold his nerve in both his overs. He pulled his length back in his first over and conceded just five. But it was his second over, the 6th of the innings which amazed us all. With 32 required off 3 overs, the game was still for the taking. The big hitting Colin De Grandhomme had just blasted Kuldeep for a six in the previous over and threatened to take the visitors over the line. But Yuzi knew exactly how to keep the marauding batsman in check. He bowled it wide outside off to prevent the heave and pushed in the wrong 'un to the left handed Henry Nicholls. He ended up conceding only 3 of that over. And by the end of the over, New Zealand required 29 off 2 overs. The task now seemed so much more difficult!
Earlier, as was in the forecast, persistent rain interrupted the play and the start got delayed by more than 2 hours. Kane Williamson completed a hat-trick of right calls in the series and put India in to bat. Batting clearly had become difficult with a covered pitch and with only an 8 over a game side, the pressure to score quick was on from the first ball. Wickets tumbled as the batsmen went on the attack. Virat Kohli smashed a six and a four in his brief spell of 13 before he too fell trying to up the ante. Adam Milne, was a shock exclusion in the lineup especially since he had such an excellent first spell at Rajkot when he hurried the Indians with his pace and back of a length bowling. Manish Pandey and Hardik Pandya struck a few mighty blows towards the end to push India's score to a competitive, if not stunning, 67. India had runs on the board but they knew that they needed to be outstanding in the field to defend it.
India dropped Munro twice at Rajkot to let him get to a hundred. Dropped catches eventually cost them the match there and they knew that mistakes like these are always unforgiving. They chose the right match to make amends which was manifested with Rohit Sharma's blinder to get rid of Munro. Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar were again on the money and didn't let the dangerous duo of Guptill and Munro get going. Hardik Pandya unleashed a missile with his arm to find the Kiwi skipper short of his crease and followed it up with another outstanding throw to get rid of Tom Bruce. The pacers, along with Chahal had restricted New Zealand to 16-2 after 3 overs. The stifled scoring rate initially kept the Kiwis under pressure and even though they had the batting firepower, the Indian pacers were at them throughout and helped the hosts defend their score. The Kiwis ended up at 61-6 after 8 overs knowing that they'd been out-fielded and out-bowled by the host nation.
Yesterday's victory ensured that India finally record a bilateral series win against New Zealand in T20Is. Interestingly, the 6 run margin of victory in the T20I series decider at Thiruvananthapuram was identical to the ODI series decider at Kanpur!