Wellington: Their tails up after a thrilling Super Over win over hosts New Zealand, India would be looking to surge further ahead in their quest for perfection and go 4-0 up in the series when they play the fourth T20I here on Friday.
Hitman Rohit Sharma hit a brilliant unbeaten 15 (including two sixes) in the Super Over as India chased down New Zealand's score of 17 to win the third T20I at Seddon Park and take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match T20I series on Wednesday.
New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson followed up his excellent 95 with an unbeaten 11 in the Super Over, but it just wasn't enough as Rohit and K.L. Rahul (5*) took Tim Southee to the cleaners to underline their strength as a unit ahead of the T20 World Cup at the end of the year.
This after the T20I was tied as India pacer Mohammed Shami came up with a classic last over just when it looked like Williamson would take the Kiwis home with a batting master-class.
Rohit was at his sublime best as he hit a well composed 65 to take India to 179/5. But Kiwi skipper Williamson waged a lone battle and almost took the game away from India with nine runs needed off six balls before Shami removed him and Ross Taylor to take the match to the Super Over.
It was a rare off day for India's premier bowler Jasprit Bumrah but the team's strength was underlined by Shami stepping up and winning the match for the Men in Blue, as acknowledged by Rohit after the game.
Vice-captain Rohit also said the fact that someone or the other was doing the job for India was a good sign leading into the T20 World Cup in Australia. An area, which skipper Virat Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri would look to address though, would be India's ground fielding. The Indians were below par in the field in Hamilton contrary to the Black Caps who were excellent.
Bumrah, going by his lofty standard, would be eager to comeback with a bang while the likes of Ravindra Jadeja and Yuzvendra Chahal would look to continue the good form.
Shivam Dube would look to improve and make a more telling contribution as it remains to be seen whether Kohli and Shastri give the bench-warmers a go. Kohli did reveal after the third game that those yet to get an opportunity in the Playing XI might get a go in the last two games.
For the home team, it was heartbreaking as to how they threw away the game which was on a plate for them at one stage. Besides Williamson, the batters need to up their game especially all-rounder Colin de Grandhhome.
Scott Kuggeleijn played in place of Blair Tickner in the last game and kept things tight with the ball and he should be persisted with. New Zealand now have only pride to play for in the last two matches of the series, but as Williamson said on Wednesday night, they would have to move on as a team and get better with the World Cup on the horizon.
India: Virat Kohli (capt), Rohit Sharma, K.L. Rahul (wk), Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant, Sanju Samson, Shreyas Iyer, Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur, Navdeep Saini, Washington Sundar
New Zealand: Kane Williamson (capt), Martin Guptill, Ross Taylor, Scott Kuggeleijn, Colin Munro, Colin de Grandhomme, Tom Bruce, Daryl Mitchell, Mitchell Santner, Tim Seifert (wk), Hamish Bennett, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Blair Tickner