Rohit Sharma's impressive half-century and stunning bowling performances by pacers Jasprit Bumrah and Navdeep Saini led India to a 7–run win over New Zealand in the 5th T20I at Mount Maunganui on Sunday. The victory on Sunday made India the first full ICC member to win a T20I series 5-0. This was India's 8th T20I victory on the trot – their best winning-run in the history of the shortest format of the game.
Batting first, Rohit Sharma's 60-run innings took India to 163 for 3 – a total considered to be slightly below par on the placid track. But just the previous two T20Is, Indian bowlers made the total bigger than it actually was to restrict New Zealand to 156 for 9.
On Sunday, however, India struck early through Jasprit Bumrah, who dismissed Martin Guptill in the second over. Washington Sundar then got the important wicket of Colin Munro in the following over when the left-hander went for a big heave. The problems for New Zealand multiplied when a horrible mix-up between Bruce and Munro gave India their third wicket, reducing New Zealand to 17 for 3 in 3.2 overs.
Ross Taylor and Tim Seifert did a fine job from there on to not only bring New Zealand back in the game but also to take their noses in front. Seifert and Taylor hit Shivam Dube for 34 runs in the 10th over – the most expensive over bowled by an Indian bowler – to take control of the match.
Another twist in the tale came when stand-in captain KL Rahul – Rohit Sharma did not take the field after being retired hurt with a calf injury – brought Navdeep Saini into the attack in the 13th over. Saini got the important wicket of Tim Sefiert for 50 off 30 balls and in the following over, Bumrah gave away only 3 runs and got cleaned up Daryl Mitchell for 2.
Taylor did his best with his 53 off 47 balls but when Saini got his wicket in the 18th over the game's balance shifted towards India completely. Ish Sodhi did hit a couple of sixes off Shardul Thakur's but 21 runs in the last over was a bit too much to get.
Bumrah was declared Player of the Match for his 3/12 in 4 overs. He was ably supported by Saini, who finished with 2 for 23.
Earlier, Rohit had to retire hurt on 60 off 41 deliveries (3x3, 3x3) after he suffered from cramps and initially decided to continue, only to soon realise he can no longer run.
But the dashing opener, batting at No.3, led from the front in the absence of Virat Kohli who was rested along with K.L. Rahul whose purple patch continued as he made 45 off 33 balls (4x4, 2x6) as India posted a challenging total.
For the Kiwis, regular captain Kane Williamson, who did not play the last T20I also due to a shoulder niggle, decided not to risk himself with Tim Southee leading in this game too.
India lost Sanju Samson early, the Kerala batsman letting go of another opportunity to impress the team management as he managed just two runs from five balls before being caught by Mitchell Santner off Scott Kuggeleijn who was the pick of the bowlers with 2/25.
Samson had failed in the last match too after being given a chance to open the batting which is his preferred position.
Rohit and Rahul then joined hands for an 88-run second-wicket stand which formed the bedrock of India's innings as they reached 84/1 at the halfway stage.
Rahul missed out on a half-century as he fell to leading-edge off Hamish Bennett with Santner taking a simple catch at cover.
Rohit brought up his 21st T20 fifty in 35 balls and looked good for a big one but he was starved of the strike by the brilliant Bennett as he made Shreyas Iyer work hard for runs in the 14th over. Rohit then suffered from cramps and had to give up eventually after not being able to run.
In the final five overs, India lacked the power-hitting as Iyer laboured to an unbeaten 33 off 31 balls. Allrounder Shivam Dube failed again, holing out to Tom Bruce at long-on off Kuggeleijn for just five.
In the end, Manish Pandey hit a 4-ball 11 to take India to 163/3.