- Publish Date
- Thursday, 30 January 2020, 11:05AM
It's not often an opposing captain is left stunned by his team's victory, but that's how Indian captain Virat Kohli felt as his side pulled off a most improbable Twenty20 triumph over the Black Caps at Seddon Park last night.
For a long while, their dominance was routine. Coming off two consecutive victories, a third looked likely when a rapid start from Rohit Sharma turned into a total of 179-5; seemingly above-par on a wicket that saw slower balls hold in the surface.
When the Black Caps chase spluttered, needing 80 from 42 balls, India's third straight victory indeed seemed secure, but an incredible 95 from 48 balls from Kane Williamson flipped the script entirely, to the point where the Black Caps were left simply needing two from four balls to keep the five-match series alive.
"I thought we were gone, down and out," Kohli acknowledged post-match.
"Kane played a brilliant innings, he probably deserved to finish the game off the way he batted and led from the front."
Instead, a remarkable final four balls from Mohammed Shami first saw Williamson depart caught behind, before Tim Seifert missed two consecutive slashes outside off-stump, running a bye on the second miss to put Ross Taylor on strike needing a single to win.
Kohli knew that only a wicket would suffice to keep his team alive, and made sure his bowler knew that fact as well.
"We had a discussion, we came up with the fact that we had to try and hit the stumps, otherwise it's a single anyway, and we're going to lose the game."
Shami did exactly what was asked; with a full delivery seeing Taylor inside edge the ball onto his stumps, sending the match to a Super Over.
However, the drama still wasn't over, and Kohli nearly saw the game get away from his side for a second time.
"In the Super Over, the discussion was around New Zealand must be feeling some pressure, because they let the game slip away, so it was our turn to hit our areas.
"But again, Kane came out and played a couple of brilliant shots against Jasprit [Bumrah], who is probably one of the best death bowlers in the world. It was such a see-saw game."
Williamson and Martin Guptill hit 17 in the Super Over, leaving a difficult challenge for Indian batsmen Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul against Black Caps bowler Tim Southee.
"New Zealand again put pressure on us, but I think Rohit was outstanding," analysed Kohli.
"We knew that if he gets one hit, then the bowler is under pressure because he's such a clean striker of the ball, and that's exactly what happened, his experience came in."
Needing 10 to win from two balls, Sharma's consecutive sixes sealed the stunning victory – and an unassailable 3-0 series lead – for India, though Kohli was left sympathetic for his opposing captain Williamson, who had fallen just short of producing an iconic match-winning innings.
"It was unbelievable. I feel bad for him, these sort of knocks when they don't go through, I know what that feeling is.
"But overall, a top day for us, and a beautiful game to be a part of."
This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission