India falter as Kiwis claim double T20 success

Hamilton: India captain Rohit Sharma said his team will return home with lots of positives despite a “disappointing” 1-2 defeat in the three-match T20 series.
India savoured a historic Test and ODI bilateral series win in Australia and recorded their biggest ODI series win on New Zealand soil but failed to clinch the first ever T20 series win against the Kiwis.
“Disappointing to not cross the line but we fought well right till the end. 210 odd (213 target) was always going to be tough, but we were in it till the end. They held their nerve and kept hitting their yorkers,” said Rohit at the post-match presentation.
“Still lot of positives, we started well with the ODIs, wanted to do well here but the boys throughout the tour were excellent, put in a lot of hard work. They will be disappointed tonight but we’ve to learn from the mistakes we made and move ahead.”
India is next host Australia for two T20s and five ODIs, starting in Vishakapatnam on February 24.
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson said his team will take a lot of confidence from the T20 triumph against India into the home series against Bangladesh.
“Brilliant high-scoring game, a great advertisement for T20 cricket. The first performance was our best, there were learnings in the second game. Both teams put in strong performances tonight, we did slightly better,” said Williamson.
Opener and man of the match Colin Munro said it was anybody’s game with India needing 16 off the final over.
“It was touch and go there until the final minute. India — you get one good batsman, another one comes along. The boys did a really good job of finishing off the really good Indian batsmen,” said Munro.
On his 72 off 40 balls, he added: “I didn’t really focus on trying to do anything different, tried to put pressure back on the bowlers. Just came out nice and free, had a bit of luck, which you certainly need in this match.”
India all-rounder Vijay Shankar on Sunday said being promoted to bat at the crucial number three position came as a big surprise to him and he returns home from the maiden tour of Australia and New Zealand as a much improved cricketer.
The 28-year-old might not have done enough to stake a strong claim for a World Cup spot but gave a good account of his all-round abilities.
Going forward, Shankar said he would love to bat higher up the order.
“It was a big surprise for me when they asked me to bat at three. That is a big thing. I was focussed on playing the situation. You need to be open anyway if you are playing for a team like India,” he said. (PTI)

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