New Zealand defeated India by four runs in the third and final Twenty20 International (T20I) to clinch the series 2-1 at Hamilton on Sunday.
Chasing the 213-run target, India could score only 208/6 in their 20 overs.
With Sunday's result, India have lost their first T20 series after winning nine and drawing one. India’s last defeat was against West Indies in July 2017.
India suffered their first blow early when opener Shikhar Dhawan was dismissed by Mitchell Santner in the first over.
All-rounder Vijay Shankar and Rohit Sharma came together to add 75 runs between them before the former was dismissed after mistiming an attempted slog sweep off Santner's bowling. This was India’s best partnership for the second wicket against New Zealand in a T20I.
Shankar was the top scorer for India. He hit five boundaries and two sixes in a quickfire 28-ball innings that produced 43 runs.
The visitors were plunged into deeper trouble soon afterwards as Rishabh Pant and Rohit Sharma were dismissed in successive overs. After a quick-fire 21 runs off 11 deliveries, Hardik was sent back to the pavilion by Scott Kuggeleijn. This was followed by Daryl Mitchell claiming the prized wicket of Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the next over,
Although Dinesh Karthik and Krunal Pandya made a valiant attempt with a late 63-run stand off the last 28 balls, it did not prove to be enough. The duo’s stand was India’s best seventh wicket partnership in T20Is.
Karthik remained unbeaten on 33 runs off 16 balls while Krunal was not out on 26 off 13.
Earlier in the day, wicket keeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni became the first Indian cricketer to play 300 T20 matches. In his t20 career, Dhoni has represented the Indian national team and Indian Premier League franchises - Chennai Super Kings and Rising Pune Super Giants.
Put into bat, a brilliant top-order batting display helped New Zealand post a big total of 212/4 in 20 overs, which is the highest total in T20Is at the venue. In fact, India’s 208/6 in Sunday’s match is the second highest T20I score at Seddan Park in Hamilton.
Colin Munro's 72 off 40 balls and Tim Seifert's 43-run knock set up a perfect platform for the other batters, which helped them post a big total.
Apart from the duo, Colin de Grandhomme (30) and Kane Williamson (27) also contributed handsomely.
(Statistics by Arun Gopalakrishnan)
(With input from PTI)
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