Batsman Rohit Sharma welcomed the Player of the Match award, as India beat New Zealand via a one-over eliminator in Wednesday's third T20I at Seddon Park in Hamilton.
The result afforded India an unassailable three-nil lead in the five-match series. The fourth fixture will be played at Westpac Stadium on Friday. Bet365 have New Zealand and India priced at 2.37 and 1.57, respectively, to win in Wellington.
Sharma, who was recently named the International Cricket Council's ODI Cricketer of the Year, hit a half-century during regulation play. Later, he struck successive sixes off the bowling of seamer Tim Southee in the one-over eliminator to cap India's triumph.
What Rohit said
“I have never done that before. I didn't know what to expect, whether to go from the first ball or just take a single, try and put pressure on the last three or four balls of the over. I just wanted to stay still and was waiting for the bowler to make a mistake,” said Sharma.
Sharma had fallen for just seven and eight in the first two T20Is in Auckland. On Wednesday, though, he graduated to 65. The innings spanned 40 deliveries – and was lined with six fours and three sixes. He was well supported by captain Virat Kohli in the middle order – and seamers Shardul Thakur and Mohammed Shami. Thakur and Shami shared four key wickets.
“The pitch was good and I was trying to stay still, see what I could do. Good performance with the bat, little disappointed at having thrown my wicket away, though. I should have carried on for a while. I wanted to bat normally, I hadn't got runs in the first two games, so I wanted to do well in this one. We knew we would win the series here if we won the match and, in important games, the important players need to step up and get counted,” added Sharma.
Sharma in the IPL
Sharma will captain the Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League later this year. Mumbai are the reigning champions and have won the IPL four times. No franchise has won it more. They boast the services of Sri Lanka fast bowler Lasith Malinga, who has taken the most wickets in the history of the IPL, which was introduced in 2008.