3rd T20I: India thrash New Zealand by 168 runs for their biggest win, clinch series 2-1

NEW DELHI: Opener Shubman Gill scored his maiden century and Hardik Pandya produced an all-round show to help India register a record shattering 168-run victory over New Zealand in the third and final Twenty20 International at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Wednesday.
The hosts clinched the three-match series 2-1 with their biggest ever win in terms of runs in the format. India’s previous highest margin of victory was 143-run win over Ireland in Dublin in 2018.
As it happened: India vs New Zealand, 3rd T20I
It was also the biggest margin of victory in a T20I match between two full member teams.
After opting to bat, Gill mesmerised all with his strokeplays as the young batter raced to hundred in just 54 balls, before remaining unbeaten on 126 off 63 balls, the highest individual T20I score by an Indian. Gill smacked seven sixes and 12 fours in his whirlwind innings.

Gill’s superb knock was well supported by Rahul Tripathi (44 off 22), Suryakumar Yadav (24 off 13) and skipper Hardik (30 off 17) as the hosts posted a huge 234 for 4 in their 20 overs.
New Zealand had a disastrous start to their massive run chase, losing four wickets in the first three overs itself. Hardik gave India an early breakthrough by removing opener Finn Allen (3) in the first over, before pacer Arshdeep Singh bowled a double-wicket over, dismissing Devon Conway (1) and Mark Chapman (0). Hardik then came back to remove Glenn Phillips (2) to reduce the Kiwis to 7 for 4 in 2.4 overs.
The visitors failed to recover from there and kept losing wickets at regular intervals. They were eventually bundled out for just 66 in 12.1 overs. Hardik with 4 for 16 in 4 overs was the wrecker-in-chief for the hosts, with fellow pacers Arshdeep Singh (2/16), Umran Malik (2/9) and Shivam Mavi (2/12) scalping two wickets each.

Indian bowlers performed in unison to bowl out the visitors for their third lowest score in the shortest format.
New Zealand lost Allen in the fifth ball of the opening over bowled by Hardik, caught by Suryakumar Yadav.
Left-arm pacer Arshdeep struck with his first delivery, as Conway lobbed a fuller delivery to Pandya at mid-off. New Zealand continued to lose wickets as Chapman got a faint inside edge which went straight to Ishan Kishan off Arshdeep’s last delivery of the over.
Wickets kept on tumbling like packs of cards for New Zealand with Glenn Phillips becoming the next victim, caught by Suryakumar at slips off Hardik.

Down at 13 for 4 after three overs, it was all but over for New Zealand.
The situation became even worse for New Zealand when Michael Bracewell was cleaned up by a fast delivery from Umran Malik.
New Zealand skipper Mitchell Santner (13) and Daryl Mitchell (35) then added 32 runs for the sixth wicket before Shivam Mavi dismissed the former, caught by Suryakumar at deep midwicket fence as the left-hander tried to heave a short ball.
Mavi struck again a ball later, removing Ish Sodhi (0) caught by Tripathi at backward point as New Zealand slumped to 53 for seven in nine overs.
Thereafter, it was just a formality for India and the hosts romped home in style.

Earlier, the start was far from rosy for India after electing to bat as Mitchell Santner made a master-stroke decision by handing Michael Bracewell the second over and the off-spinner reposed his captain’s faith by removing an out-of-form Ishan Kishan, who was adjudged LBW with the second ball of the over.
In-form Gill struck two boundaries off Lockie Ferguson in the next over. Gill was at his ominous best, be it pick up hits, drives or pulls to continue his onslaught. He hit Blair Tickner for three fours in the fifth over as India reached 44 for 1.
Young Tripathi, who has immense potential but yet to fire in the series, then struck Ferguson for a boundary and a six in consecutive balls to keep up the tempo. Tripathi then pulled Santner over short-fine leg before coming down and lofting the left-arm spinner for a straight six.
Tripathi showed his attacking class and dispatched Ish Sodhi over extra cover for his third six of the innings but perished in the next ball in search of one too many, holing out at deep square leg to Ferguson.
Gill reached his maiden T20I fifty off 35 balls with a single off Santner.
While Gill held one end, Suryakumar Yadav showed glimpses of his class but fell in the 13th over, brilliantly caught by Bracewell at mid-off as the batter mistimed his shot.
Gill brought up his century with a four over the mid-off fielder off the bowling of Ferguson in the first ball of the 18th over. He broke free and clobbered Ferguson over mid-wicket for a huge six in the next ball.
It was mayhem as skipper Hardik too went ballistic.
But it was Gill who stole the show as he continued with his attacking shots after the ton, finding the boundaries at will as the New Zealand attack looked listless.
(With inputs from PTI)

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