The final T20I match between New Zealand and India produced a thrilling contest at Hamilton. The Blackcaps won the match by four runs and won the series 2-1. Meanwhile, the Men in Blue had to remain content with their 4-1 ODI series victory in the tour.
India won the toss and decided to bowl first. On a belter of a surface, the Blackcaps posted a huge total of 212/4. The Men in Blue fought hard and crossed the 200-run mark but fell short by just four runs.
It was a very nail-biting match with the New Zealand bowlers prevailing only in the last over. Here are three takeaways from the game.
#3 The emergence of a lethal opening duo for New Zealand
New Zealand openers came up with another reassuring performance. Their contribution in the third T20I proved to be indispensable. The 200-plus total was the outcome of powerful batting by the two openers. Tim Seifert's 43 and Colin Munro's 72 set the platform for a breathtaking total.
Martin Guptill's absence paved the way for Seifert to prove his skills. The young wicketkeeper-batsman showed significant promise against tough opposition. On the other hand, Munro produced one of his best performances of the entire series.
The duo of Guptill and Munro were not exceptional during the ODI series against India. Maybe, New Zealand can consider this refreshing combination if the regular opening partnership proves ineffective in the 50-over format.
The pairing of Munro and Seifert comes across as a timely backup option for the team to explore as they have a 50-overs World Cup and T20 World Cup in the space of two years.
#2 India's struggles chasing 200-plus targets
New Zealand have unraveled a noteworthy winning strategy against the Indian T20I side. Including this match, India have faced 200+ totals seven times against their opponents who batted first. They have lost five of them.
The teams, who bat first against India in T20Is, will be keen on scoring 200 or above. Starting from now, the Indian bowlers could find themselves under extra pressure if the opposition openers provide formidable starts.
Team India showed glimpses of promise but failed to do the job in the end. It is to be seen if the team overcomes the weakness before the T20 World Cup in 2020. The team needs to up their batting even more if their bowling fails to perform adequately.
#1 Rohit Sharma's maiden T20I series loss as captain
It looked like an excellent opportunity for Rohit to prove himself in an overseas T20I series. He performed well with the bat but as a captain he was slightly underwhelming.
Although he is a Nidahas Trophy and Asia cup winner, the team management looks reluctant to hand Rohit the permanent captaincy of the limited-overs formats.
The loss in the fourth ODI consisted of the seventh lowest Indian total. It came under Rohit's captaincy. The T20I series loss, along with the fourth ODI loss, becomes slight setbacks for his captaincy aspirations.
The three-time IPL winner has just lost his maiden T20I series as captain. The chances of Rohit captaining India in the upcoming T20I series against Australia will depend on Virat Kohli's availability.