11 December 2023

India beats NZealand after Super Over, clinches T20 series


Rohit Sharma hit sixes off the last two balls of a dramatic Super Over as India secured an unlikely win over New Zealand to clinch their Twenty20 series and leave the Black Caps to digest another painful loss in the tiebreaker.

Six months after losing a 50-over World Cup final to England on boundary countback after tying a Super Over, the New Zealanders found themselves back in a tiebreaker after failing to wrap up the match in regulation - despite needing just two runs off the final four balls of the chase.

Mohammad Shami bowled Ross Taylor with the last ball of New Zealand's innings, leaving the teams tied on 179 runs.

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, who made a career-best 95 off 48 balls, returned to the crease for the Super Over and heaved Jasprit Bumrah for a six and a four to help his team score 17 alongside Martin Guptill.

Sharma and K.L. Rahul managed only eight runs from the first four balls of India's reply, which left the tourists needing nine runs from the last two balls to win. Sharma hit a six over long-on from the first of those deliveries from Tim Southee, then hoisted the last ball of the match over the long-off boundary.

"I've never done that (batted in a Super Over) before so I didn't know what to expect," Sharma said. "I didn't know whether to go from the first ball or just take a single, then try to put the pressure on from the last three or four balls.

"I just wanted to stay still and was waiting for the bowlers to make a mistake."

Bad memories of Super Overs returned for New Zealand, which also was defeated in a tiebreaker to lose the deciding match of a Twenty20 series against England in November.

"They haven't been too successful for us so we need probably to do a bit more to try to win it in regular time, I suppose," Williamson said.

"But it was a great game of cricket. India again showed their experience in their crunch moments, but it was a really important experience for us as a cricket side."

India took an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series.

Sharma played a huge role in India's win, having put on 89 with Rahul in an opening stand to set up a total of 179-5. He reached his half-century from 23 balls in an over in which he took 26 runs from the bowling of Hamish Bennett, and was top scorer with 65.

India struggled in the second half of their innings, finishing on a score that was under-par after such a strong start.

Williamson, in turn, ignited New Zealand after its relatively slow start by New Zealand and posted his half century from 28 balls. Just when he looked set to reach his maiden T20 century and guide New Zealand to victory, his rash shot in the last over saw him caught by wicketkeeper Rahul from the bowling of Shami.

Tim Seifert was unable to make contact with the next delivery - the third-to-last ball of the match - but scrambled a bye to tie the scores. Taylor flashed at a yorker from Shami and was bowled, as the Blacks Caps posted 179-6 and the match went to the Super Over.

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