India vs New Zealand 2017, 3rd T20I: Rohit Sharma's stunning catch to remove Colin Munro is SK Turning Point of the match
After persistent rain took center stage in Thiruvananthapuram, the prospect of even a reduced game appeared to be diminishing at one point in time. However, the world-class drainage system at the Greenfield International Stadium as well as the tireless work of the ground-staff ensured that the T20I series between India and New Zealand came down to a decider in the form of a 8-over slug-fest.
Upon losing the toss, the Indian batting lineup could not quite come to terms with the sluggish nature of the surface and consequently reached a seemingly modest total of 67 for the loss of five wickets.
The 'Men in Blue' imparted a couple of early blows to dent the pursuit of the Blackcaps. In particular, Rohit Sharma produced an astounding catch to help the hosts see the back of Colin Munro. The menacing batsman, who had smashed a scintillating century in the previous match, was taken out in the second over this time around.
Buoyed by the prized scalp of the hard-hitting left-hander, India went on to eke out an exciting 6-run victory to clinch the series 2-1. Let us take a close look at how Munro's dismissal placed the home team on the pathway to glory.
Southee and Boult restrict India
New Zealand's potent pace pairing of Tim Southee and Trent Boult utilised the bowling-friendly conditions on offer to keep a stranglehold on the Indian batsmen. While the left-armer began the proceedings with a tight first over, his bowling partner removed Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma in successive deliveries to provide a solid start for the visitors.
Skipper Kane Williamson smartly juxtaposed his premier fast bowlers with the spin combination of Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi. However, India rode on handy little contributions from the likes of captain Virat Kohli, Manish Pandey and Hardik Pandya to register a fighting total on a difficult track.
Rohit's stunning catch takes out Munro
With early wickets crucial in order to plant the seeds of doubt in the Kiwi camp, Bhuvneshwar Kumar showed his remarkable new-ball skills by castling Martin Guptill. The swing exponent smartly took the pace off the ball to deceive the dangerous opener. However, the Blackcaps still held the aces with the in-form Munro lurking as a major threat for the Indian bowlers.
In the third delivery of the second over, Rohit produced the most decisive moment in the game by coming up with a sensational catch. Bumrah tried to hit the deck hard by banging the ball in the good length zone. Munro's mistimed slog went only as far as outside the inner circle.
In what was an example of tremendous game awareness, Rohit ran back and still kept his eyes on the ball. As the ball descended towards the turf, the sprawling fielder stuck both hands in the hope of grabbing the chance. Somehow, he managed to hold on to the ball despite a difficult landing. The hosts breathed a sigh of relief as the hard-hitting Munro was taken out of the equation early in the piece.
Bumrah and Chahal choke New Zealand
Glenn Phillips hammered successive boundaries off Bhuvneshwar to breathe life into the chase. But the fortunes of the tourists took a massive hit when a direct hit from Pandya caught Williamson short of his crease. Kuldeep Yadav aggravated their woes by accounting for Phillips in the very next delivery.
Sending down the all-important sixth and seventh over of the innings, leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal and Bumrah collectively conceded just 13 runs to pile the pressure on the Blackcaps. Defending as many as 19 runs, Pandya delivered a stellar final over to propel India to a thrilling triumph.
Meanwhile, New Zealand were left to rue their under whelming performance with the bat. As a result, they slumped to their maiden T20I series loss to India and failed to protect their impressive recent record in the shortest format of the game.