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Published On: Sun, Feb 2nd, 2020

Rohit Sharma retires on 60 as India set NZ 164-run target

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842719-indiateam1bcciMOUNT MAUNGANUI: Stand-in skipper Rohit Sharma smashed a crucial half-century, the Indian bowlers came to the fore to help the Men in Blue clinch a narrow seven-run win over New Zealand in the fifth and final T20I and complete a five-match series whitewash at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui on Sunday.
Rohit Sharma came for a toss for India in the absence of regular skipper Virat Kohli, who was rested for the clash. Bttled a calf injury on way to his 60 off 41 balls before retiring hurt as India managed 163 for three against New Zealand in the fifth T20 International here on Sunday.
Sharma, batting at number three, was retired hurt after injuring his left calf whilst hitting a six and walked off the field in discomfort.He faced 41 balls and hit three fours as well as three sixes. This was after India won the toss and opted to bat.
Virat Kohli was expectedly rested, with Sharma coming in, and it was the only change for India from Wellington. Rishabh Pant was ignored once again.
For New Zealand, Kane Williamson didn’t recover on time and Tim Southee led the side once again. Despite Sharma’s return, Sanju Samson (2) continued to open the innings and it didn’t work again.

Yet another opportunity went abegging as he hit straight to extra cover and was out for two runs. KL Rahul (45) and Sharma then added 88 runs for the second wicket, providing vital momentum to the Indian innings.
The in-form duo dominated the Black Caps’ attack and put on 50 off just 35 balls.Rahul hit four fours and two sixes in his 33-ball stay.He fell in the 12th over against the run of play and finished with 224 runs in the series, the most for an Indian batsman in any bilateral T20I series.Sharma scored his 25th T20I half-century off 35 balls. He looked to accelerate but then injured himself in the 17th over and retired.
The loss of both Rahul and Sharma impacted the Indian innings, and they lost all momentum on a slowing wicket. Shreyas Iyer smacked 33 off 31 balls, including a four and two sixes, but couldn’t push the score past the 170-mark. Manish Pandey scored 11 not out off four balls, with a four and a six. India have an unassailable 4-0 lead in the five-match series.
The visitors eventually posted a score of 163 for three in their stipulated 20 overs, with Shreyas Iyer (33) and Manish Pandey (11) remained unbeaten at the crease. Sharma was forced to retire hurt at 60 and KL Rahul came to lead the Indian side during New Zealand’s innings. In reply, Tim Seifert (50) and Ross Taylor’s (53) half-centuries went in vain as New Zealand were bundled out for 156 for nine by India.
Jasprit Bumrah was the pick of the bowlers for the Men in Blue as he finished with brilliant figures of three for 12. While Shardul Thakur and Navdeep Saini bagged two wickets each, Washington Sundar also chipped in with a wicket.
(With Agency Inputs ).



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