Colin Munro and Tim Seifert, whose half-centuries looked to have set New Zealand on course for a drought-breaking win, had to return to the crease for the eighth Super Over in the team's white-ball history. After the loss at Hamilton on Wednesday and now Friday's chilling repeat, New Zealand has now lost seven of those deciders.
The most painful was in the 50-over World Cup final to England in July. Munro and Seifert managed 13 runs from the bowling of India's master finisher, Jasprit Bumrah, though they rode their luck to do so. Munro was dropped off the first ball and Seifert off the third, before Seifert was dismissed with the fourth ball of the Super Over.
Tim Southee, New Zealand's captain in the absence of injured Kane Williamson, stepped up again to take the bowling duty for New Zealand despite succeeding in only one of five previous Super Overs. On Wednesday, Rohit Sharma hit sixes from the last two balls of Southee's over to clinch a win for India that secured an unassailable 3-0 lead in the series. This time K.L. Rahul hit a six and a four from the first two balls before being dismissed off the third.
Virat Kohli, typically calm, took two runs off the fourth ball then flat-batted the next ball for a boundary for the victory. "It's very tough, especially in the position we got ourselves into and then to give them a chance at the end there," Southee said. "You give a side like India a chance and they're going to grab it with both hands."
Southee felt no choice but to take on the onerous responsibility of bowling the Super Over. "We've got a young bowling attack and it was a decision made by a number of people," he said. "But it is tough that we keep getting ourselves in these sort of positions.
"It's hard to get out of the habit, especially when you lose a couple of games in the way that we have. When you're winning games, you find the way to win with balls to spare. When you're playing quality opposition like India and you give them a sniff, then you make it tough on yourself."
India was given the chance to win the match in the Super Over by the extraordinary final over in regulation bowled by Shardul Thakur. New Zealand came to the over 159-3 in reply to India's 165-8, with Seifert 57 not out after Munro had made 64 before being brilliantly run out by Kohli in one of the key moments of the match.
Seifert and Taylor had been together at the death in the third match Wednesday and hadn't been able to get New Zealand over the line when it needed only two runs from the last four balls. This time, Taylor fell to the first ball of the over, Seifert was run out to the third ball, Daryl Mitchell was out to the fifth ball and Mitchell Santner was run out on the last ball with two runs needed as New Zealand made 165-7.
"There's something I've learned in the last couple of games and that is when the opposition is playing that well, you've just got to stay calm, observe what's happening and if the opportunity comes your way you capitalize on it and try to make the most of it," Kohli said. “I think what's happened in the last couple of games is unbelievable. From being involved in the game and from the fans point of view you couldn't ask for more exciting T20s back to back.”
The match finished after midnight. India leads the series 1-0 with one game left in Tauranga.
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