Indian head coach Rahul Dravid and India's T20 skipper Rohit Sharma address a press conference ahead first T20 match against New Zealand on Tuesday (November 17). Photograph:( ANI )
Given that NZ were the T20 World Cup finalists, they would be disappointed with the 0-3 scoreline. However, newly-appointed Indian team head coach Rahul Dravid feels NZ were surely exhausted, coming into the series after a three-day gap post the T20 WC final versus Australia.
India and New Zealand locked horns with each other in the third and final T20I at the iconic Eden Gardens, Kolkata on Sunday evening (November 21). With the series already in their grasp, Rohit Sharma-led Indian team experimented by giving more opportunities to young stars and opting to bat first; given the Men in Blue's ordinary record at defending totals.
Batting first, Rohit-starrer India posted a competitive 184-7 in 20 overs, courtesy the skipper's 56 and vital contributions from the likes of Shreyas Iyer, Venkatesh Iyer, Deepak Chahar, Ishan Kishan and Harshal Patel. In reply, Martin Guptill was the lone warrior for the Black Caps as none apart from the opener's 51 looked comfortable as the Kiwis folded for a paltry 111 in 17.2 overs to lose by 73 runs.
Given that NZ were the T20 World Cup finalists, they would be disappointed with the 0-3 scoreline. However, newly-appointed Indian team head coach Rahul Dravid feels NZ were surely exhausted, coming into the series after a three-day gap post the T20 WC final versus Australia. In addition, they didn't have a full-strength squad with regular captain Kane Williamson being rested.
"We have to keep our feet on the ground and be a bit realistic about this win," Dravid said at the post-match presentation here. "Not easy for NZ to play a World Cup final and then to turn up three days later and play three games in six days, was never going to be easy for them. It was nice from our perspective but we have to learn from this series and move forward. It's a long journey ahead over the next two years and we'll have our share of ups and downs," added the former Indian captain.
After the 3-0 result, Rohit told at the post-match presentation, "It's important to start well. That's always been my mindset. Once you've seen the pitch you know what you've got to do. It was nicely coming onto the bat with the dew coming early. We had something planned as a batting group. Wouldn't say it worked out well. Room for improvement in the middle order. The batting front - KL missed out today but his form is critical. Middle order didn't get much opportunity except today. The spinners did the job for us in the entire series."
The action will now move to the two-match Test series, starting from November 25 at Kanpur. The visitors will surely like to settle scores with India in the Tests post the failures in the shortest format.