Team India's head coach Ravi Shastri lauded Virat Kohli and co for completing a rare 5-0 whitewash in the T20 series against New Zealand after the 7-run win in the fifth and final T20. Jasprit Burmah spearheaded the win, picking up three wickets, as the Kiwis failed to chase down the 164-run target. Stand-in skipper KL Rahul was adjudged the Player of the Series for his consistent performance with the bat while Jasprit Bumrah was adjudged the Man of the Match for his tight and disciplined spell along with his three scalps. Tim Seifert and Ross Taylor's half-centuries went in vain as the hosts failed to retain wickets, eventually collapsing to the might of the Indian bowlers.
Earlier in the evening, interim Indian captain Rohit Sharma won the toss and opted to bat first. Presented with another opportunity to make his mark in international cricket, Sanju Samson was promoted up the order at the expense of Sharma himself. However, Samson failed to trouble the scorers after being dismissed for just 2 by an overpitched Scott Kuggeleijn delivery. KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma batted with panache to form an 88-run stand from 60 deliveries. KL Rahul missed out on a well-deserved fifty by just 5 runs while captain Sharma top-scored with a well-crafted 60 from 41 balls. New Zealand bowlers disrupted India's acceleration in the slog overs as the visitors could only muster up a total of 163-3 on a flat Bay Oval track. A distraught New Zealand side got off to a horrendous start in their run-chase, losing 3 wickets for just 17 runs on the board. Playing in his 100th T20I, veteran batsman Ross Taylor anchored the innings with a 47-ball 53 before his departure in the 18th over. Apart from a single Shivam Dube over which accounted for 34 runs, the ‘Black Caps’ never got going and could only score 156-9 to hand India a 7-run win.
After an action-packed T20I contest, the two teams will now collide in a three-match ODI series starting from February 5. The first game will be played at Seddon Park in Hamilton. The last time India tussled with New Zealand in a 50-overs game, the ‘Men in Blue’ were knocked out from the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2019.