Mount Maunganui, Feb 2: Stand-in skipper Rohit Sharma played a brilliant knock (60 off 41 balls) before retiring hurt and guided India to 163/3 against New Zealand in the fifth and final T20I at the Bay Oval, here on Sunday.
Apart from Rohit, KL Rahul also played an important innings (45 off 33) and helped India post a challenging total at Bay Oval. Earlier, India won the toss and opted to bat. India were off to a bad start as Sanju Samson failed to make the most of the second opportunity in the series, losing his wicket for just two runs to Scott Kuggeleijn in the 2nd over.
After Samson's wicket, Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul got the innings back on track and took India to 53/1 after 6 overs. KL Rahul (45) and Sharma then added 88 runs for the second wicket, providing vital momentum to the Indian innings. Rahul missed his fifty by five runs as he got out in the 12th over. However, he took his run-tally in the 5-match series to 224 and surpassed Virat Kohli's record of scoring most runs for India in any bilateral T20I series.
Kohli had scored 199 runs vs Australia in the 3-match series in 2016. Rohit Sharma raced away to his 21st T20I fifty in just 35 deliveries. He looked to accelerate but then injured himself in the 17th over and got retired hurt and walked off the field in discomfort after scoring 60 runs. The loss of both Rahul and Sharma impacted the Indian innings, and they lost all momentum on a slowing wicket. Shivam Dube, who came to bat next, failed again to capitalise and managed a six-ball 5.
Shreyas Iyer remained unbeaten for 33 runs from 31 balls but it was Manish Pandey (11 not out off 4 ) who helped India get to 163/3. Scott Kuggeleijn (2 for 25 ) and Hamish Bennett (1 for 21 ) were the wicket takers for Blackcaps. (UNI)