India cruised to a 2-1 series-clinching victory in the third T20I vs New Zealand, at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Wednesday. Chasing a target of 235 runs, New Zealand were bowled out for 66 in 12.1 overs, which saw the hosts win the decider by 168 runs. Hardik Pandya was in stunning form and bagged a four-wicket haul in four overs, conceding 16 runs. Meanwhile, Arshdeep Singh, Umran Malik and Shivam Mavi bagged two-wicket hauls respectively.
Initially, India captain Hardik won the toss and opted to bat. An unbeaten knock of 126 runs off 63 balls by Shubman Gill saw the hosts post 234 for four in 20 overs. The stylish opener also clattered 12 fours and seven sixes during his blistering knock. Meanwhile, Rahul Tripathi also slammed a crucial knock of 44 runs off 22 balls, including four fours and three sixes. Hardik was also in good batting form and slammed 30 runs off 17 balls, including four fours and a maximum.
Also Read | Shubman Gill creates history; breaks Kohli, Raina’s records with maiden T20I ton
After the match, Hardik received the Player of the Series award for his fantastic displays during the series. In the first T20I, the India captain registered 21 runs off 20 balls, which saw New Zealand win the match by 21 runs. Meanwhile in the second T20I, Hardik smacked an unbeaten knock of 15 runs off 20 balls, including a four, and also scalped a dismissal. After receiving the award, Hardik hailed his teammates and also revealed his ‘simple captaincy rule’.
“I don’t mind winning (man of the series award), but there were so many performances here that were exceptional. This Man of the Series and trophy goes out to the whole support staff, I’m happy for all of them. (On doing things out of the box) Not to be honest, I always play the game like this. I try to read what is required, not have preconceived ideas. In my captaincy, I look to keep it simple and back my gut”, he said.
“I have a simple rule – if I go down, I will go down on my terms. We’ve spoken about taking challenges. When we played the IPL final, we felt the second innings was more spicy but on this surface today I wanted to make it a normal game because it was a decider. Hence, we batted first. Hopefully, we can continue performing like this”, he further added.
Meanwhile, Gill received the Player of the Match award for his fine unbeaten century. After receiving the award, Gill hailed Hardik for his captaincy. “It feels good when you practice and it pays off. I was backing myself to score big. Didn’t happen in the Sri Lanka series, but happy to see it work out now. Everybody has a different technique to hit sixes. Hardik bhai told me to play my game, not do anything extra and he kept backing me. When you represent your country, there is no fatigue. It was my dream to play for India, and I am very fortunate to be part of the team in all three formats”, said the opener.