Images from the third T20 International between India and New Zealand, at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata, on Sunday.
Axar Patel took three wickets for just nine runs and skipper Rohit Sharma scored a breezy 56 off only 31 balls as India trounced New Zealand by 73 runs in the third and final T20 International, at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Sunday, to sweep the series 3-0.
Chasing a huge 185, New Zealand were down and out of the contest after a horrid start as Axar snared the first three wickets inside five overs with his mesmerizing spin.
Daryl Mitchell (5), Mark Chapman (0) and Glenn Phillips (0) failed badly with the bat as the visitors were reduced to 30 for 3 after just 4.4 overs.
Opener Martin Guptill, who had an 'life' at the start put up a gutsy fight, despite the loss of early wickets, with Tim Seifert as the duo battled to get the innings on track.
Guptill brought up his half-century in the 10th over, leaving the Kiwis 117 runs to win from 60 balls.
However, the right-hander perished off the bowling of Yuzvendra Chahal and New Zealand were reduced to 69-4 in the 11th over.
Guptill was out after a hitting 4 fours and as many sixes in his 51 off 36 balls.
That was the only bright spot of the Kiwis innings. They kept losing wickets at regular intervals and were shot out for a paltry 111 all out in 17.2 overs.
Harshal Patel also excelled with the ball, taking two wickets for 26 runs in three overs, while Venkatesh Iyer (1-12 in three overs), Yuzvendra Chahal (1 for 26 in four) and Deepak Chahar (1 for 26 in 2,2 overs) made life miserable for the New Zealand batters.
This is India's second back-to-back bilateral T20I series triumph with a clean sweep, having beaten the Black Caps 5-0 in their own backyard in 2020.
Earlier, Rohit's imperious form was on full display as he laid the platform for an above par score of 184 for 7.
In a bid to test the team's character by batting first, the skipper led the way with a blazing 56 off 31 balls, which included five fours and three sixes, but despite a whirlwind start, India stuttered in the middle overs before Harshal Patel (18 off 11 balls) and Deepak Chahar (21 not out off 8 balls) used the long handle to garner 50 runs in last five overs.
Ishan Kishan (29 off 21 balls), Shreyas Iyer (25 off 20 balls) and Venkatesh Iyer (20 off 15 balls) got starts but couldn't convert them into a big score.
Having got two flashy back-to-back boundaries off the very first over by Trent Boult, there was no looking back for Rohit.
There was no preferential treatment, as all the fast bowlers were treated with equal disdain as he and Kishan made full use of the of the Powerplay overs, which yielded 69 runs.
Rohit pulled Boult behind square for his first six and hit Adam Milne (0/47 in 4 overs) over long-on for the second maximum.
The third, off Lockie Ferguson, was another pull behind the square into the stand below the giant electronic scoreboard.
Post-Powerplay, stand-in captain Mitchell Santner (4-0-27-3) pulled things back, as Kishan edged an arm ball into the ‘keeper Tim Seifert's gloves, while Suryakumar Yadav (0) played a loose shot to a tossed up delivery and gave an easy catch to the cover fielder, Martin Guptill, much to the irritation of his skipper, reducing India to 71 for 2.
Rohit's frustration was compounded when Rishabh Pant went for an ugly hoick to give Santner his third wicket in his second over and India were 83 got 3 in the ninth over.
Rohit, however, did not allow the fall of wickets to bog him down and he got to his 50, his 26th half-century, with a deliberate cut through the vacant third-man area off his opposite number.
His sequence of scores in last six T20 Internationals is 74, 30, 56, 48, 55 and 56 and captaincy hasn't changed his style of play a bit.
Shreyas also gained in confidence as he got a boundary to take the score past 100-run mark.
It took a brilliant one-handed reflex caught and bowled catch from Ish Sodhi to dismiss Rohit.
Sodhi tried to bowl wide off Rohit's reach but gave enough air, which enticed him to give the charge without getting to the pitch of the delivery.
Shreyas Iyer and Venkatesh Iyer then got together at the crease and did not let the momentum drop for the hosts. The pair put on 36 runs for the fifth wicket before the stand was broken by Boult as he dismissed Venkatesh (20).
In the next over, Adam Milne got the better of Shreyas (25) and India were down to 140 for 6.
36 more runs were added in the last three overs, taking the score past the 180-run mark, as Deepak Chahar played a cameo of 21 runs off just 8 balls.