Gill-inspired India crush NZ to clinch T20 series
AHMEDABAD: Opener Shubman Gill smashed an unbeaten 126 to help India clinch the T20 International series against New Zealand with a crushing 168-run victory in the decider on Wednesday.
Gill recorded his maiden T20 century for India as he steered the team to a massive 234-4 after they elected to bat first at the world’s biggest cricket ground in Ahmedabad.
Indian bowlers skittled out the Kiwis for a paltry 66 in 12.1 overs for a 2-1 series win. The hosts had whitewashed the Kiwis in three one-day matches.
The huge victory was India’s biggest-ever in T20 Internationals and the biggest margin by runs in a match played between two Test-playing nations.
India elected to bat first on a batting-friendly pitch and Gill continued his magnificent run of form – hitting 12 fours and seven sixes in his 63-ball innings.
Indian opener Shubman Gill plays a shot during the third Twenty20 International against New Zealand at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Wednesday.—AFP
He had also put the New Zealand bowling to the sword with a double hundred and a ton during the ODI series.
Gill put on 103 runs for the fourth wicket with skipper Hardik Pandya, who made 30 and then took four wickets with his pace bowling, at the 132,000-seater Narendra Modi Stadium.
Off-spinner Michael Bracewell struck early as he trapped Ishan Kishan lbw for one in the second over of the innings.
Gill, 23, hit back with a flurry of boundaries including three in one over off Blair Tickner. Rahul Tripathi, who made 44, joined the charge as the two put on 80 runs.
Tripathi smashed three sixes including one off leg-spinner Ish Sodhi only to hole out next ball in another attempt to clear the ropes.
Gill, who became only the fifth Indian batsman to record centuries across all three formats, found another attacking partner in Suryakumar Yadav who smashed 24 off 13 balls as the two kept up the onslaught.
Tickner cut short Suryakumar’s stay with Bracewell taking a sharp catch at mid-on.
But the unstoppable Gill changed gears and raised his ton off 54 balls with a boundary as he took off his helmet and let off a roar.
New Zealand made a horrendous start to their mammoth chase as they lost their top four for just seven runs inside three overs as Arshdeep Singh struck twice in the second over of the innings.
Suryakumar took two spectacular catches at first slip off Pandya’s pace bowling to send back Finn Allen, for three, and Glenn Phillips, for two.
Tearaway quick Umran Malik bowled Bracewell before Daryl Mitchell, who made 35, and skipper Mitchell Santner attempted to resist.
Arshdeep, Umran and Shivam Mavi took two wickets each.
India will now head into the hotly-anticipated four-Test series against Australia starting on Feb 9 in Nagpur.
I. Kishan lbw Bracewell 1
S. Gill not out 126
R. Tripathi c Ferguson b Sodhi 44
S. Yadav c Bracewell b Tickner 24
H. Pandya c Bracewell b Mitchell 30
D. Hooda not out 2
EXTRAS (B-2, LB-1, W-4) 7
TOTAL (for four wickets, 20 overs) 234
FALL OF WICKETS: 1-7 (Kishan), 2-87 (Tripathi), 3-125 (S. Yadav), 4-228 (Pandya)
DID NOT BAT: W. Sundar, S. Mavi, K. Yadav, U. Malik, A. Singh
BOWLING: Lister 4-0-42-0, Bracewell 1-0-8-1, Ferguson 4-0-54-0 (1w), Tickner 3-0-50-1 (2w), Sodhi 3-0-34-1, Santner 4-0-37-0, Mitchell 1-0-6-1 (1w)
F. Allen c S. Yadav b Pandya 3
D. Conway c Pandya b Singh 1
M. Chapman c Kishan b Singh 0
G. Phillips c S. Yadav b Pandya 2
D. Mitchell c Mavi b Malik 35
M. Bracewell b Malik 8
M. Santner c S. Yadav b Mavi 13
I. Sodhi c Tripathi b Mavi 0
L. Ferguson c Malik b Pandya 0
B. Tickner c Kishan b Pandya 1
B. Lister not out 0
EXTRAS (LB-1, W-2) 3
TOTAL (all out, 12.1 overs) 66
FALL OF WICKETS: 1-4 (Allen), 2-4 (Conway), 3-5 (Chapman), 4-7 (Phillips), 5-21 (Bracewell), 6-53 (Santner), 7-53 (Sodhi), 8-54 (Ferguson), 9-66 (Tickner)
BOWLING: Pandya 4-0-16, Singh 3-0-16-2, Malik 2.1-0-9-2 (1w), K. Yadav 1-0-12-0, Mavi 2-0-12-2 (1w)
RESULT: India won by 168 runs.
Published in Dawn, February 2nd, 2023