Rohit Sharma left behind his twin failures in Auckland to score a brisk half-century to take India to a competitive 179/5 in the third T20I of the ongoing five-match series against New Zealand in Hamilton on Wednesday. Rohit top-scored for India with 65 while for New Zealand, Hamish Bennett took three wickets but also leaked 54 runs in four overs.

New Zealand captain Kane 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.

Brief Scores: India 179/5 (Rohit Sharma 65, Virat Kohli 38; Hamish Bennett 3/54) vs New Zealand