New Zealand exploited batting friendly conditions at a small ground and posted an imposing 212 for four in the series-decider. India could only muster 208 as they kept losing wickets at regular intervals. A 63-run partnership between Dinesh Karthik and Krunal Pandya almost did the job for the visitors but it wasn't enough in the end.
India lost the final Twenty20 International of the three-match series against New Zealand on Sunday by 4 runs, ending the tour with a 1-2 series loss. Put in to bat first after India won the toss , openers Tim Seifert and Colin Munro gave New Zealand innings a flying start.
Seifert and Colin Munro added 80 runs for the first wicket. India got a much-needed breakthrough when MS Dhoni swiftly stumped Seifert off Kuldeep Yadav.
But the wicket did not stop the home team batsmen from looking for the big shots. Kane Williamson played a supporting role as Munro continued to take apart the Indian bowling attack.
Munro finally perished in the 14th over after mishitting one off Kuldeep to give Hardik Pandya a simple catch but New Zealand already had 135 runs on the board by then.
Williamson was the next to depart. He smashed 2 fours of Khaleel but a slower ball saw him top edge one to Kuldeep, prompting a fiery celebration from the pacer.
However, de Grandhomme and Daryl Mitchell took over the task and the two added 43 runs for the fourth wicket. Towards the end Ross Taylor and Daryl Mitchell played quick fire knocks and helped New Zealand to muster 212 runs for the loss of 4 wickets.
Chasing 213 to win, India's chase got off to the worst possible start as they lost Shikhar Dhawan in the very first over. Vijay Shankar joined Rohit Sharma out in the middle and the two proceeded to put together a 75-run partnership, with the former being the more aggressive batsman.
Vijay regularly found the boundary and looked set for a big score but fell on 43 when he holed out to Colin de Grandhomme off Mitchell Santner.
This brought out Rishabh Pant who made a promising start to his innings, smashing a six and two fours in his first three balls. However, the pressure of the asking rate got to him as well and he was caught by Williamson to give Blair Tickner his maiden wicket in T20.
After that India lost Rohit Shrama and Hardik Pandya in quick succsession to put India's chase in trouble.
Pandya and Dhoni departed shortly thereafter, leaving the visitors at 145 for 6 with less than 5 overs remaining that proved a mountain too high to climb despite Karthik and Krunal's heroics. The defeat also meant India faced their first series loss on their long tour of Southern Hemisphere.