Disciplined India earn series win in shortened shootout against New Zealand
Poor weather almost curtailed a brilliant series, but India triumphed against New Zealand in a rain-reduced T20 decider.
India turned in a brilliant bowling performance to win an eight-over shootout against New Zealand by six runs to clinch a thrilling 2-1 Twenty20 international series victory.
After the teams had split the opening two contests of a keenly fought series, the decider was substantially delayed by rain in Thiruvananthapuram.
The poor conditions meant that only eight overs a side were played and, having chosen to bowl, New Zealand restricted the hosts to 67-5, with Tim Southee (2-13) and Ish Sodhi (2-23) the pick of their bowlers.
And India defended that paltry total, with the restricted overs suiting the hosts' brilliance at death bowling, as the tourists mustered just 61-6 in reply to leave Virat Kohli's team celebrating a first T20 series win against New Zealand.
New Zealand were disciplined in their bowling and Southee had dangerous openers Shikhar Dhawan (6) and Rohit Sharma (8) out in consecutive balls in the third over, with Mitchell Santner taking the catch on both occasions.
Kohli slogged 13 off just six deliveries, but silence swept the home stadium when the skipper followed a six with a pull to midwicket off Sodhi that Trent Boult cupped.
Sodhi also accounted for Shreyas Iyer (6), but Manish Pandey (17) and Hardik Pandya (14) made valuable contributions to boost India's tally.
Those runs proved extremely valuable by the time Martin Guptill (1) was bowled by Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Colin Munro (7) – a centurion in the second T20 – had sent Jasprit Bumrah to Sharma, who took a fine fingertip catch running back from mid-on.
A brilliant run out from Pandya spelled the end for dangerman Kane Williamson (8), while Henry Nicholls (2) and Tom Bruce (4) also failed to trouble the scoreboard in a chase that never got going, despite a valiant effort from Colin de Grandhomme (17).