India sweep series over Black Caps

India wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant runs out New Zealand's Mitchell Santner. Photo: Getty Images
India wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant runs out New Zealand's Mitchell Santner. Photo: Getty Images
The good news for the Black Caps is the test series starts on Thursday.

The bad news? Well, there was a bit of that.

New Zealand have slumped to their fourth-heaviest loss by runs in T20 international history, being swept 3-0 by India at Eden Gardens this morning.

The hosts triumphed by 73 runs in Kolkata, a margin of defeat for the Black Caps that marked an ignominious end to a forgettable series.

After being competitive in the first match - which came three days removed from their World Cup final heartbreak - New Zealand were taken apart in the next two.

There is hardly need for much recrimination, not after such a successful World Cup campaign, but this series will have certainly stung the pride.

India even set themselves a challenge today, as if to make life more interesting. Boasting a perfect record when chasing and a losing record when batting first this year, they opted for the latter approach after again winning the toss.

But no mercy was shown to an already-vanquished opponent as India proceeded to outplay New Zealand in all three facets and record their biggest T20I victory over the Black Caps.

After stand-in skipper Mitchell Santner (3-27) was the only bowler to find much joy as India racked up 184-7, Martin Guptill (51 from 36) was the sole batsman to put up much of a fight in the chase.

Only two others, Tim Seifert (17) and Lockie Ferguson (14) reached even double figures.

It had looked likely to be a tough day for the tourists from the moment India raced to 69-0 at the end of their powerplay.

Ferguson, Trent Boult and Adam Milne all struggled to find their line as India had almost as many boundaries (13) as dot balls (16), before Santner's introduction pegged back the hosts.

He and Ish Sodhi combined for 4-58 from their allotment - with Sodhi snaffling a brilliant caught-and-bowled chance on an otherwise poor fielding day for New Zealand - before Ferguson (1-45) and Milne (1-47) returned to the attack as India finished how they started.

Rohit Sharma (56 from 31) again tormented the bowlers but Guptill began intent on matching his counterpart, although he was fortunate to survive being dropped in the first over.

Daryl Mitchell went cheaply before Mark Chapman and Glenn Phillips fell for consecutive ducks, New Zealand stuttering to the end of the powerplay on 37-3.

Guptill had added 32 of those runs and he soon advanced to a 19th T20I half century, helping his side reach 68-3 at the halfway stage. But three balls later the opener holed out to long on and the Black Caps' mission was nearing impossible.

Self-inflicted blows further hindered the tourists' slim chances, as Seifert looked for an ill-considered second run and was caught short of his ground, while Jimmy Neesham's stay was brief and a second run out saw Santner also fall cheaply.

It was ugly stuff and only a bit of free swinging from the tailenders prevented the loss from being any uglier.

Thankfully for New Zealand, they will now be donning the whites for the first time since beating India to claim the World Test Championship in June.

Thursday can't come soon enough.



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