India won the T20I series by 2-1    AFP
India won the T20I series by 2-1 AFP

Australia had levelled the penultimate T20I against India at Guwahati. However, the series decider of the three-match series was washed out without a ball being bowled in Hyderabad.

New Zealand followed the same pattern. After losing the first match, Kiwis bounced back in the second T20I. Nonetheless, the series finale looked certain to be abandoned, before grounds men at Thiruvananthapuram produced an 8-over contest by taking timely care of the ground.

India won their second T20I against New Zealand, and inflicted their first-ever series win versus New Zealand in the format. On the other hand, New Zealand became the third side to play 100 T20Is, after Pakistan and South Africa.

India meanwhile remain unbeaten across formats at home under Virat Kohli. Let’s analyse their performance on a scale of 1 to 10.

Rohit Sharma (4.5/10; 93 runs): Being the third highest run-scorer, the Indian vice-captain still had an ordinary series after the first game. He was a bit rusty at Feroz Shah Kotla. However, he stuck around and gained full flow to pile up a 55-ball 80. Sadly, he could not maintain the run-flow in a tall chase in the penultimate match. He fell for 5, and thereby initiated India’s downfall. He remained clueless in a rain-curtailed 8-over contest at Thiruvananthapuram as well.

Rohit gets an extra half a point for his spectacular catch to dismiss Colin Munro in the final T20I. He took a blinder running behind and timed his jump to perfection.

Shikhar Dhawan (3/10; 87 runs): Dhawan had a similar ride. He was the star performer in the first T20I, only to fall flat in the next two matches. He was at his best at his home ground Feroz Shah Kotla but scored a single on a flat track at Rajkot. He followed it up with another flop show in the finale.

Note: It would be hard to judge both openers in the final T20I. After all, it demanded them to go full throttle from ball one.

Virat Kohli (7.5/10; 104 runs): Kohli was in his prime. He may have missed a trick by not coming at No. 3 in the series opener, but smashed 11-ball 26 to propel the score to 202 for 3. He continued to make merry in the next game. While the whole batting line-up did not stand up, the Indian skipper looked undeterred. He smacked an impressive 42-ball 65 on a losing cause. In addition, he also became the second highest run-scorer in T20I history, only behind Brendon McCullum (2,140).

In a rain-affected match, Kohli looked in ominous touch and took on Ish Sodhi. He eventually fell for 13. Kohli would have liked to add more but was not out of form on a tough track by any means.

Shreyas Iyer (3.5/10; 29 runs): Iyer made his debut in Nehra’s farewell match. He did not get a chance with the bat. However, he scored a promising 21-ball 23 at Rajkot. Iyer made room and played the cuts on a few occasions, and notched up 4 boundaries as well. A daunting chase suited the aggressor’s style of play, before falling for 23. He was getting in his strides but cannot be blamed much on his first international outing with the willow. In the final match, he – like every other batsmen – went bonkers from ball one. He eventually departed for 6.

Manish Pandey (7/10; 17 runs): For a batsman to play his first match of the series and come and slog from ball one, Pandey did well. He, in a way, held one end with some well-timed strokes and carried his bat in India’s 8-over innings.

MS Dhoni (2/10; 2 catches and 1 stumping): Dhoni has made significant contributions, or played second fiddle in many of India’s victories in the format. Nonetheless, he has never taken the game away single-handedly. In the pursuit of 197 at Rajkot, Dhoni got a chance to play an attacking innings. However, he looked out of touch, and even failed to rotate the strike. This created pressure on Kohli.

Dhoni fell for an ordinary 37-ball 49, but the writing was on the wall. With the gloves, he accounted for 2 catches and 1 stumping. Dhoni, however, missed the stumps on a number of occasions in India’s defence of 68 at Thiruvananthapuram.

Hardik Pandya (3.5/10; 15 runs & 1 wicket): Pandya had a below-par outing in the entire series. While he raised concerns facing leg-spinner Ish Sodhi, his bat remained silent. He fell to Sodhi on both occasions before remaining unbeaten on 14 in the last match. Pandya conceded 12 runs per over, but did well to defend 19 off 6 balls in the final.

Pandya gets an extra point for his breathtaking catch off Martin Guptill in the first T20I. He tried hard for another tough catch but fell short. Had Pandya held on to it, Nehra would have got a scalp in his farewell match.

Akshar Patel (2.5/10; 5 runs & 2 wickets): More was expected of Akshar. He chipped in with 2 wickets in the series opener, and returned with 2 for 20. Nonetheless, he was taken to the ropes in the next outing. Akshar s figures of 0 for 39 off 3 overs spoiled the party, and was axed for the last encounter. With the willow, the left-hander fell cheaply for 5.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar (6/10; 2 wickets): With a peach off a yorker to get rid of Munro at Feroz Shah Kotla, Bhuvneshwar started well. He ended with figures of 1 for 23 (3). In the next match, the pacer remained economical (at 7.25) but couldn’t pick a wicket. In defence of 68 at Greenfield Stadium, the pacer set the ball rolling by getting rid of Guptill off the knuckle ball. Bhuvneshwar, in short, maintained pressure consistently.

Yuzvendra Chahal (7.5/10; 3 wickets): Chahal finished his full quota of overs in all games. At an average of 23.33 and with an economy rate of 7, the wrist spinner did a brilliant job.

Chahal gets extra points for tilting the decider in India’s favour. His priceless two overs sealed the deal. He bowled away from the batsmen with a packed off side field, and did not deter his line one bit. The ploy worked, and left Kiwis short of 6 runs.

Kuldeep Yadav (5/10; 1 wicket): The Chinaman bowler got a game in the series decider. Kuldeep bowled the 5th over with the match in balance. Had Kuldeep gone for runs, Kiwis would have sprinted towards the total. Nonetheless, the wrist spinner was up for the challenge. He invited a big shot from Tom Bruce and removed him. One bad delivery spoiled his over, but he did his job.

Mohammad Siraj (3/10; 1 wicket): Siraj made his debut at Rajkot. However, the debutant did not have a pleasant outing. The pacer was hammered during Guptill and Munro’s opening stand. His figures of 1 for 53 included the wicket of Kane Williamson.

Ashish Nehra (7/10; 7.25 ER): Nehra remained calm and composed as ever in his last international appearance. He bowled his full quota but remained wicketless. Nehra-ji missed the stumps by some margin in his last over, whereas two catches were dropped off his bowling as well. One cannot blame the veteran for such follies, right?

For his economy rate of 7.25, Nehra attains 7 marks. He deserves all the accolades for keeping it simple and bowling it stump-to-stump for one last time in India’s jersey.