India has once again prevailed in a tense T20 tussle, with the BLACKCAPS falling seven runs short in pursuit of 163 to win game five at Mount Maunganui.
On a beautiful night at Bay Oval, local boy Kane Williamson was a late scratching with a reoccurrence of his left-shoulder injury, leaving Tim Southee to lead the side who were asked to bowl first in Ross Taylor's 100th T20I.
India was also without their captain with Rohit Sharma taking the reins in place of Virat Kohli.
Sharma (60 off 41) and KL Rahul (45 off 33) were once again in fine touch, but Hamish Bennett (1-21) and Scott Kuggeleijn (2-25) put the breaks on the visitors with impressive spells.
India post 163/3 batting first at Bay Oval. Sharma the top scorer with 60 before he had to leave the field with an injury. Chase coming up shortly here in Bay of Plenty. LIVE scoring | https://t.co/C9zslxZiaE #NZvIND pic.twitter.com/JjT4EyNzsM— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) February 2, 2020
The BLACKCAPS run chase hit early turbulence when both openers were dismissed in the second and third overs before Tom Bruce was run-out for a duck to leave the chase idling at 17-3.
Taylor and Tim Seifert ignited the home crowd with a stirring 99-run fifth-wicket stand that featured a stunning 34 -run over.
However, as they had in games three and four, India staged a late fightback with the ball led by Jasprit Bumrah (3-12) who delivered his trademark pinpoint yorkers on cue to stifle the chase.
Ish Sodhi was left with the final over the assignment of 21 runs and despite depositing two sixes over the leg-side couldn't get the BLACKCAPS to their first victory of the series.
Bumrah was awarded Player of the Match, while KL Rahul was named Player of the Series for his consistent form with the bat.
The teams now relocate to Hamilton as the tour switches to one-day mode on Wednesday.
“It’s dissapointing...Another close one that we’ve come out on the wrong side of. We’ve got to dust ourselves off now for the one-day series starting on Wednesday.” - Tim Southee on @skysportnz #NZvIND #cricketnation pic.twitter.com/NnJhm8H2J8— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) February 2, 2020