Hamilton: New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson did all he could to keep the five-match T20I series against India alive single-handedly with a brilliant yet belligerent knock of 95 off 48 balls in the 3rd T20I at Hamilton and then a crucial 11 off four balls, but it was India who trumped in a Super Over thriller, with Rohit Shama hitting Tim Southee for consecutive sixes to seal the deal, chasing down 17.
With this, India claim their maiden T20I series win, with two more matches to go, taking an unassailable 3-0 lead in the series.
Ultimately, it was New Zealand who would be ruing the fact that they had to two to win from four balls, and managed just a single in the last four deliveries of the 20th over.
Bumrah, who was out of touch, conceded 17 runs in the Super Over while Tim Southee did marvellously well to restrict Rohit and KL Rahul to eight runs in the first four balls before Rohit got his sighter with two massive hits over the boundary line.
It was the NZ skipper’s highest individual score in the format and was laced with eight fours and six sixes, as he steered his team from a tricky situation to the doorsteps of victory in regulation time, utilising the small boundaries at Seddon Park to stun India.
It was a rare off day for India’s premier bowler Jasprit Bumrah who was tonked for 45 runs in his four overs and remained wicketless, but Mohammad Shami shone through bowling the final over to force a Super Over.
Defending nine in the final over, Shami was hit for six by Ross Taylor off a full-toss first ball, but held his nerve to concede two more runs in the next five balls and cleaning up Taylor off the final delivery.
Williamson had the experienced Ross Taylor for support in the death overs as the duo put on 41 runs in just three overs.
Martin Guptill made a substantial contribution at the top of the order with 21 off 31 balls while Colin Munro made 14 off 16.
Williamson then lost Mitchell Santner (9) and Colin de Grandhomme (5), cheaply but motored along to NZ in the hunt.
Earlier, Rohit Sharma left behind his twin failures in Auckland to score a brisk half-century to take India to a competitive 179/5.
Rohit top-scored for India with 65 while for NZ, Hamish Bennett took three wickets but also leaked 54 runs in four overs.
Williamson won an important toss and expectedly opted to bowl first with his team fighting to keep the series alive having conceded a 0-2 lead to India.
The surface, unlike that of Eden’s Park in Auckland on Sunday was a belter and Indian openers KL Rahul and Rohit set a solid base, adding 89 runs in 9 overs.
Rahul continued his form and looked set for another big score having struck two fours and a six to race to 27 off 18 when Colin de Grandhomme surprised him with extra bounce to have him caught by Colin Munro.
With 11 overs remaining, India promoted allrounder Shivam Dube to No. 3 spot in place of captain Virat Kohli.
Meanwhile, Rohit looked in silken touch, hitting six fours and three sixes for his 20th T20I fifty. He fell to Hamish Bennett in the 11th over.
In the same over, Dube holed out on 3 off 7 as New Zealand hit back with quick blows.
Kohli and Shreyas Iyer led the recovery from the quick strike, adding 46 runs. With 19 deliveries remaining and two set batsmen, the stage was set for late fireworks.
However, left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner had Iyer stumped for 17 to break the momentum.
Kohli struck 38 off 27 with two fours and a sixes before becoming Bennet’s third victim of the evening.
Ravindra Jadeja and Manish Pandey hit a six each in the final over, bowled by Tim Southee, as India added 18 runs to their total.
Rohit Sharma is the Player of the Match.