India won their second Super Over in a row, at Wellington, as New Zealand again managed to lose a game from a relatively comfortable position. Having already clinched the series at Hamilton in a similar fashion, India will head into the final match at Mount Maunganui 4-0 up.
At Wellington, India managed to hold New Zealand to a tie after posting 165 on the board. Bowling the last over, Shardul Thakur took two wickets, and India also effected two run-outs as the game headed to Super Over. Thakur, who also contributed a crucial 20 with the bat earlier, was named man of the match.
Speaking at the post-match presentation, an elated Shardul said, “You couldn’t ask for anything more. This is what we play for, these nail-biting finishes.” Thakur, who was expensive in the first spell, dismissed Taylor and Daryl Mitchell in the last over, defending seven.
“After the last game, we learned that we should never lose hope. If I bowl a dot ball or a wicket ball, the pressure is on them,” Thakur added. Apart from his bowling, he also featured in a momentum-shifting seventh-wicket partnership of 43 with Manish Pandey, who made an unbeaten 50.
“It was important to stretch the partnership in the middle, and should have carried on until the 19th and 20th over, so hopefully next time things turn out better for me,” the bowling all-rounder went on to add.
A desolate Tim Southee, standing in as New Zealand captain for the injured Kane Williamson, admitted that the defeat was tough to take. Southee faltered in the Super Over for the second game in a row. “It is very tough. To get ourselves the position we got today and then give them a chance... India grabbed it with both hands. When you got a young bowling attack, it’s a critical decision (to bowl the Super Over) from a number of people. You make it tough on yourself when you give a sniff to teams like India,” Southee lamented.
On the other hand, Indian skipper Virat Kohli saw the win as a new learning experience. “There's something new that I've learned, that you've just got to stay calm in the game, observe what's happening and if the opportunity comes then you capitalize on it. The fans couldn't have asked for a better finish in two consecutive games. We hadn't played super-over before, and now we have played two back-to-back. It feels good when you're out of the game and gets yourself back in, it really shows the character of the team,” a proud Kohli stated.
--By A Cricket Correspondent