Wrap-up: Kane Williamson and Virat Kohli both thank the crowd for their patience and the groundstaff for their great work in getting things ready. Man of the series and man of the match is Jasprit Bumrah, and deservingly so. That’s it from all of us today, it’s been a long evening but one that had an exciting match at the end of it. And before we sign off, credit to New Zealand, for giving us two fantastic three-match series. They’ll always have the love of a true cricket fan.

Both by six runs.

Post-match: And..... breathe. What madness! Mayanti Langer says all good things come to people who wait and it cannot be truer for the crowd in Trivandrum today. They waited and waited and waited, and were treated to a stunning game of eight-over cricket. The merits of deciding a series winner with a shootout can be debated later, but there was no question over the entertainment. India were spectacular with the ball and on the field. Kohli got his bowling order spot on and the spinners (especially Chahal) delivered in style. And Pandya held his nerve at the end. Selecting the man of the match is going to be tough tonight but my vote goes to the ground-staff! Heroes.

Kudos! (Image: BCCI)

Last over, India need to defend 19 - Pandya with the ball in his hand:

7.1: 1 bye, NZ running for everything!

7.2: 0, brutal hit by CDG but Pandya sticks his arm out and stops it - harsh to call it a drop. Pandya in pain.

7.3: 6, what a hit! Much-needed for NZ.

7.4: Wide, pressure getting to Pandya?

7.4: 1, 10 off 2 needed!

7.5: 2 runs, Pandya just needs to bowl a legal delivery to seal this for India.

7.6: That’s it, India have clinched a thriller by 6 runs.

10 runs and a wicket, NZ need 19 off 6: Bumrah gets a wicket off the first ball – Nicholls finds fine leg. NZ then run for everything. And *flash* bails have a new meaning when MS Dhoni whips them off. Stunning reaction between gathering a wide throw and getting it done – Bruce out.

Pandya to defend 19 off 6 balls... TENSION!

6th over, NZ 39/4 - 29 runs required from 12 balls: What a phenomenal over by Chahal. What a phenomenal spell! 2 overs for just 8 runs and no wickets, but don’t let that fool you. This is match-winning stuff. Again, to both the right and left hand bats, he bowls it wide and they can’t connect. Just 3 from it.

AN ACTION-PACKED 5TH OVER, NZ 36/4: 10 runs from Kuldeep’s first thanks to a big six by de Grandhomme off the last ball, but not before the left-arm leggie’s over saw two wickets fall. First, a brilliant direct hit by Pandya sees the end of Williamson’s innings. Next ball, Philips mishits a googly to midwicket where Dhawan celebrates a high catch.

32 runs required from 18 balls...

4th over, NZ 26/2: Interesting call by Kohli to give Bhuvi his final over, with 4 still to go after this. Philips finds the boundary twice in that over, one a streaky edge past third man. 10 from it, not bad for either side. 42 runs required from 24 balls

3rd over, NZ 16/2: Another top over for India, just 5 runs off Chahal’s first over. The strategy in that over was clear, bowl quick, pitch the ball outside off and turn it away even further. Some brilliant fielding in that over by Kohli and Pandya in that over.

2nd over NZ 11/2: Brilliant stuff from Bumrah! Removes the danger man Munro thanks to a high catch taken smartly by a tumbling Rohit Sharma. That was the big breakthrough. And cutters follow to squeeze NZ. Just 2 runs conceded by Bumrah, 3 off it.

1st over, New Zealand 8/1: What a start! Munro, like has throughout this series, takes the attack to Bhuvi straight away. 2nd ball off the over is hit way over the midwicket boundary for six, but ends the over with the wicket of Guptill – knuckle ball does it again!

Innings break: 67/5 in 8 overs. Do India have enough on board? Black Caps have the big advantage of knowing what to achieve. Can pace the innings at will and the required rate is not daunting. There was help for spinners, and the off-cutters from the pacers were difficult to put away – but India will have to put up a remarkable bowling effort to win this one feels. Chase underway.

End of India’s innings, 67/5 after 8 overs: Feels weird to call that an ‘innings’ but hey, that’s modern day cricket. Just 6 runs from an excellent final over by Trent Boult. Starts with one of the most amazing catches you’ll see with Santner diving full length at wide long-on and flicking the ball back to de Grandhomme to complete a stunning relay effort. And Pandya can’t get anything of note from that over. Dhoni left on 0 off 0 balls.

7th over, India 61/4: Wicket-less over for India and 11 runs from it as Pandya deposits Sodhi 86-meters beyond the boundary line. Six balls to go. How much can India make?

Wicket, Iyer goes back: Not his day, whole lot of mishits. Shreyas finds Guptill at long off Ish Sodhi, hitting a over-pitched ball long and high. But 10 runs did come from that over with Pandey finding the power to send one over long on for six. There were 9 runs from the previous Southee over, filled with offcutters. After 6 overs, India 50/4.

Another over, another wicket for India: And it’s the big one! Virat Kohli is walking back and Black Caps are delighted. Ish Sodhi concedes 13 but boy, oh boy, would he not mind that. Kohli has looked in great touch this series, and the same was true here. A 4 and a 6 to start Sodhi’s over, but finds Boult at deep midwicket off the last ball. After 4 overs, INDIA: 31/3

Two wickets in the over, what a start for New Zealand: Tim Southee removes Dhawan and Rohit off back-to-back deliveries! And boy, Santner’s catching doesn’t let him down today. Takes two good high catches. The Rohit catch at deep fine leg was a beauty. After 3 overs, India 18/2

2nd over, India 14/0: Excellent over from Santner. The first ball is a beaut, pitching good length with the angle to Rohit and grips, turns, bounces past his bat. Rohit finds the boundary with a mis-timed hit over long on. Indian spinners would be encouraged by that.

1st over, India 7/0: Action-packed start to proceedings. Rohit takes a single off the first ball of Boult’s over and lets Dhawan tackle the left-armer. First ball to him is a beaut, shaping in and then moving away, beating him all ends up. Another dot ball later, Dhawan slogs the next two balls – edges past either side of 3rd man for a 2 and 4. Single off the last ball.

09:25 pm: Harsha Bhogle cannot stop gushing about how majestic this new stadium looks and it’s great that a full house gets some action to witness tonight. No national anthems, we skip straight to the cricket. Rightly so.

09:15 pm: Williamson’s luck with the toss continues and he calls it right again. Massive cheers at Sports Hub as India will bat first. Two changes by Kohli – Kuldeep and Manish make their way to the lineup, Siraj and Axar sit out.

09:05 pm: GREAT NEWS! Toss in 10 minutes (09:15 pm) match starts at 9:30 pm and it’s 8-overs per side. The fans in Trivandrum deserve this action for sure!

08:45 pm: More good news! The tide is turning, you guys.

08:30 pm: Confirmation that the covers are off! There has been a lot of talk about the excellent drainage facilities at this new ground, time to see that in action.

08:16 pm: Whisper it, but there might be some good news! Covers are reportedly about to come off in Trivandrum. (We have already started losing overs, however, starting at 8:01 pm)

07: 55 pm: Updates from Trivandrum (not the good kind...)

As we keep waiting...

Here’s something we had written about the question of Virat Kohli and his aggression – something’s that has come up again in cricketing circles (Ahem, Mr. Rajdeep Sardesai).

Ashish Magotra writes:

If Virat Kohli was Australian, his aggression would have been welcomed with open arms. It would not be debated. It would not be looked at with suspicion. It would not even be seen as an un-Australian thing to do. But as luck would have it, one of the best and most aggressive players in the world happens to be Indian… I-N-D-I-A-N and not A-U-S-T-R-A-L-I-A-N.

So the question must be asked — over and over again without fail and with a straight face — what do you make of Virat’s aggression? Is it not fit for the gentleman’s game? Is it teaching youngsters the wrong things? Is it right? Is it wrong? Is it what a role model should do?

The media asks the question because they know that any answer will make news. For example, when Rajdeep Sardesai decided to ask the question of Rahul Dravid at the Bangalore Lit Fest recently, it for all purposes had little to do with the book.

Read on:


07:35 pm: Some fantastic news all around in Indian sports today. Comeback veteran Mary Kom cruised into the Asian Championship final. And at the badminton nationals finals, we are set for a cracker on Wednesday.

What’s at stake?

06:55 pm: Of course, just because the rain gods are threatening to spoil our fun, doesn’t mean we can’t have any? Let’s rewind to see what’s at stake tonight. India have never won a bilateral T20I series against New Zealand (heck they hadn’t won a match before the first game in Delhi). New Zealand, on the other hand, have had a pretty rotten run in India in limited-overs. Like we said earlier, they have had a case of ‘decideritis’ – unable to close out crunch games. Kane Williamson’s side have consistently played excellent cricket in the subcontinent and would be, weather willing, raring to go tonight as well.

Also, it’s a pretty big night for Trivandrum, as this is the first international match to be hosted in this new stadium.

Rain threatens decider

06:30 pm: Hello all and welcome to the live blog of yet another decider between the men in blue and the Black Caps. That’s a third one in the last 12 months – after the ODI deciders in 2016 and 2017, it’s now in T20Is. The venue is Trivandrum. But the sports-mad fans of Kerala are in for a frustrating evening with rain threatening to spoil the fun for us all. The toss, for starters, has already been delayed.