Black Caps blow it yet again

Ross Taylor watches on as another partner walks off the pitch after getting out. Photo: Getty Images
Ross Taylor watches on as another partner walks off the pitch after getting out. Photo: Getty Images
If you thought one-off overs couldn't get much worse than the Black Caps' Super Over shambles, boy, did India have a treat for you.

An over from hell, or more accurately, the right arm of Shivam Dube, saw the Black Caps compile an incredible 34 runs in a display of hitting that looked like it would enable them to avoid the ignominy of a 5-0 series sweep.

Of course, this being the Black Caps in a game of Twenty20 cricket, it was never going to be that simple.

No, for the third consecutive game, the Black Caps found a way to pull off the remarkable, and achieve the unexpected. From needing 51 runs off 49 balls, the plucky New Zealanders did it again, collapsing in a heap to fall seven runs short and collect another well-deserved loss - completing their first 5-0 series defeat since an ODI series in 2010, also against India.

At least there wasn't a Super Over this time, with the Black Caps having incredibly come up significantly short of India's 163-3, despite collecting over 20 per cent of their required target in a solitary over.

That over produced the second-most runs in Twenty20 international history, with the two batsmen who have been involved in all the drama of late, Tim Seifert and Ross Taylor, doing the damage with six lusty blows.

Seifert started the bidding with two sixes and a four, before a single handed the onslaught to the capable blade of Taylor. Playing in his 100th Twenty20 international, Taylor smacked a no-ball through mid-wicket for four, the resulting free hit over mid-wicket for six, and the over's final ball over, you guessed it, mid-wicket, for six more.

Needing 100 runs from 66 balls going into Dube's over, six balls later the requirement was just 66, and the needed run rate chopped from 9.1 to 6.6.

"Surely they'll win this," came the call, before the realisation struck – that is not something you can say about this Black Caps team right now – in any situation.

True, there could be few complaints with the Black Caps' recent bowling efforts. Yes, Tim Southee will cop some rightful moaning after leaking 52 from his four overs, but in a promising sign for the upcoming ODI series, recent call-ups Hamish Bennett (1-21) and Scott Kuggeleijn (2-25) were the pick of the bunch.

The pair pegged back India, who looked on track for a much larger score when cruising at 94-1 after 11 overs. Bennett's wicket of KL Rahul – caught off a leading edge for 45 – was pivotal, while India will be nervously awaiting news on Rohit Sharma, who retired hurt on 61 with what looked to be a calf complaint, potentially weakening India's top order for the upcoming ODI and test showdowns.

That brought Shreyas Iyer to the crease, who promptly slowed everything down, struggling to score off the two Kiwi seamers, making just 33 from 31 balls as India limped to 163-3, a target that looked so simple when the Black Caps needed 51 from 49, with seven wickets left, and two set batsmen at the crease.

Yet, once again, Seifert and Taylor couldn't finish off their promising knocks, and they received no help from the batsmen below them as the phenomenal Jasprit Bumrah (4-1-12-3) took over.

Seifert's 30-ball 50 had the Black Caps poised for victory, until splicing a catch to mid-wicket. Daryl Mitchell (two from four), Mitchell Santner (six from seven) and Kuggeleijn (first-ball duck) were more hindrance than help, as the run rate ballooned from a run-a-ball to needing 12 an over.

In between, Taylor's innings ended with a wild slash, caught behind, and considering he was on 41 from 24 balls after Dube's over, his eventual 53 off 47 was a disappointing contribution.

Needing 21 off Shardul Thakur's final over, Ish Sodhi smacked two sixes to keep hope alive of another absurd finish – a third straight Super Over, anyone? – but Thakur did what the Black Caps haven't done all series, keeping his nerve to ensure the series fittingly ended the way it began, and indeed never strayed from – with a shambolic New Zealand defeat.

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