Ahmedabad: Shubman Gill (126 n o, 63b, 12×4, 7×6) smashed a whirlwind unbeaten maiden century in the shortest format as India thrashed New Zealand by 168 runs. It was India’s biggest ever win in terms of runs in T20I matches. India won the third game of the series here at the Narendra Modi Stadium here to emerge victorious 2-1 after losing the first game of the three-match series. India’s second highest margin of victory was a 143-run win over Ireland in Dublin in 2018.
India scored 234 for the loss of four wickets and then bundled out the Kiwis for a paltry 66 in just 12.1 overs. Skipper and man of the series Hardik Pandya (4/16) was the most successful bowler and was well-supported by Umran Malik (2/9), Shivam Mavi (2/16) and Arshdeep Singh (2/16).
Shubman Gill continued his fine form and showcased his array of shots, hitting the New Zealand bowlers to all parts of the park. In the process, Gill became the third Indian batter to register centuries in all the three formats of the game.
New Zealand lost Finn Allen in the fifth ball of the opening over bowled by Pandya, caught by Suryakumar Yadav. Left-arm pacer Arshdeep with his first delivery, as Devon Conway lobbed a fuller delivery to Pandya at mid-off. New Zealand continued to lose wickets as Mark Champman got a faint inside edge which went straight to wicket-keeper Ishan Kishan off Arshdeep’s last delivery of the over.
Wickets kept on tumbling like of pack of cards for New Zealand with Glenn Phillips becoming the next victim, caught by Suryakumar at slips off Pandya. Down at 13 for 4 after three overs, it was all but over for New Zealand. The situation became even worst 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 Mavi dismissed the former, caught by Suryakumar at deep mid-wicket fence as the left-hander tried to heave a short ball. Mavi struck again a ball later, removing Ish Sodhi (0) caught by Rahul Tripathi at backward point as New Zealand slumped to 53 for seven in nine overs.
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 Rahul Tripathi (44, 22b, 4×4, 3×6), who has immense potential but did not 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 (24, 13b, 1×4, 2×6) 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 mclobbered Ferguson over mid-wicket for a huge six in the next ball. It was mayhem as skipper Pandya (30 off 17) too went ballistic. The two added 103 runs in little less than seven overs for the fourth wicket before Pandya fell in the last over of the innings. However, by then the match was well out of the grasp of New Zealand.
India 234 for 4 (Shubman Gill 126 n o, Rahul Tripathi 44) beat New Zealand 66 all out in 12.1 overs (Daryl Mitchell 35, Hardik Pandya 4/16, Umran Malik 2/9) by 168 runs.