Shubman Gill century steers India to victory over New Zealand as they claim T20 series

Opener's unbeaten 126 helps hosts to thumping win in decider

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Opening batsman Shubman Gill hit an unbeaten 126 as India trounced New Zealand by 168 runs to clinch the T20 international series in the decider on Wednesday.

Gill scored his maiden T20 century for his country as he took the hosts to 234-4 after they chose to bat first in Ahmedabad, the world's biggest cricket ground.

India's bowlers blew away the Kiwis for a just 66 runs in 12.1 overs for a 2-1 series win. The hosts had whitewashed the Kiwis in three one-day matches.

The huge victory was India's biggest ever in T20 internationals and the biggest margin by runs in a match played between two Test-playing nations.

India elected to bat first on a batting-friendly pitch and Gill continued his magnificent run of form – hitting 12 fours and seven sixes in his 63-ball innings.

He had also put the New Zealand bowling to the sword with a double hundred and a ton during the ODI series.

Gill put on 103 runs for the fourth wicket with skipper Hardik Pandya, who made 30. The India captain then took four wickets with his pace bowling, at the 132,000-seater Narendra Modi Stadium.

Off-spinner Michael Bracewell struck early as he trapped Ishan Kishan lbw for one in the second over of the innings.

Gill, 23, hit back with a flurry of boundaries including three in one over off Blair Tickner. Rahul Tripathi, who made 44, joined the charge as the two put on 80 runs.

Tripathi smashed three sixes including one off leg-spinner Ish Sodhi only to hole out next ball in another attempt to clear the ropes.

Gill, who became only the fifth Indian batsman to record centuries across all three formats, found another attacking partner in Suryakumar Yadav who smashed 24 off 13 balls as the two kept up the onslaught.

Tickner cut short Suryakumar's stay with Bracewell taking a sharp catch at mid-on.

But the unstoppable Gill changed gears and raised his ton off 54 balls with a boundary as he took off his helmet and let off a roar.

New Zealand made a horrendous start to their mammoth chase as they lost their top four for just seven runs inside three overs as Arshdeep Singh struck twice in the second over of the innings.

Suryakumar took two spectacular catches at first slip off Pandya's pace bowling to send back Finn Allen, for three, and Glenn Phillips, for two.

Tearaway quick Umran Malik bowled Bracewell before Daryl Mitchell, who made 35, and skipper Mitchell Santner attempted to resist.

Arshdeep, Umran and Shivam Mavi took two wickets each.

India will now head into the hotly anticipated four-Test series against Australia starting on February 9 in Nagpur.

Updated: February 01, 2023, 6:30 PM