Courtesy of a match-winning performance from all-rounder Krunal Pandya and Captain Rohit Sharma, India got the better of the Black Caps to level the series 1-1, while also winning their first T20I game in New Zealand.
The Black Caps skipper, Kane Williamson, having won the toss elected to bat first, in the hope of mounting pressure on the visitors by putting up a huge total, just as they did in the First T20I’s. However, this move backfired as the Indians led by Bhuvneshwar Kumar dismissed last match’s hero Tim Seifert for cheap inside the third over. Further wickets of Colin Munro and Daryl Mitchell fell in the sixth over off Krunal’s delivery as New Zealand were suddenly reeling at 43/3 in 6 overs.
A couple of overs later, Williamson was caught LBW, again off Pandya’s over as the Kiwis were now really struggling at 50/4 inside 8 overs. However, a 77-runs quickfire partnership between Ross Taylor and Colin de Grandhomme ensured that the Kiwis weren’t surrendering the match at ease. During the course of this partnership, Colin reached to his maiden T20I half-century, before he perished trying to hit Hardik Pandya for a boundary which was comfortably caught by Rohit Sharma at extra-cover.
Another 26-runs partnership out of 20 deliveries followed between Taylor and Mitchell Santner as the Indians were bowling tight overs, making the Kiwi batsmen toil hard for their runs. However, a brilliant effort from Vijay Shankar in the deep had Taylor run-out in the 19th over as all hopes for a huge Kiwi total now look diminished. Further wickets in the ultimate oval resisted the Kiwis to post a total above the 160-run mark. In the end, New Zealand only managed to post 158 at the loss of 8 wickets in their allotted 20 overs.
In reply, the Indians were solid in the powerplay overs, as India managed to post 50-runs inside 6 overs. The duo of Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan managed to post 79 runs for the first wicket as Rohit reached to his 16th T20I career fifty before Sharma was dismissed by Ish Sodhi. Next over, Lockie Ferguson got the better of Shikhar Dhawan as the southpaw was caught by Colin at backward-point.
Vijay Shankar was the next man to be dismissed for India, as the visitors were now within grasp of their first T20I victory in New Zealand. A fine 44 runs partnership between Rishabh Pant and MS Dhoni ensured that the Indians won the match comprehensively, thus leveling the series 1-1. Rishabh Pant remained not out at 40* runs, as Krunal Pandya was adjudged the player of the match for his heroics with the ball where he picked up 3 wickets giving away a mere 28 runs.
The next and final match of the series is to be played on Sunday, 10th of February at Seddon Park in Hamilton. Whom do you think will win the series? New Zealand or India?
Also Read, 2nd T20I NZ vs IND Match Prediction