Match report: Ind v NZ – 2nd T20I
Chennai, Sep 11: New Zealand rounded off their tour to India by beating the hosts in the second T20 International played between both teams. With the first T20I in Vizag washed out, today’s win gave New Zealand the series while allowing them to maintain their unbeaten record against India in T20Is.
Earlier, MS Dhoni won the toss and elected to field first. L Balaji made his T20I debut for India, but the bigger news was the return of Yuvraj Singh to international cricket; the left-hander very much a part of the Indian playing eleven for the game. With the crowd cheering Yuvi’s return, there was even more excitement as Zaheer Khan and Irfan Pathan struck in successive overs to dismiss the New Zealand openers – Rob Nicol (0) and Martin Guptill (1) – to leave the visitors at two for two in 1.3 overs.
Brendon McCullum and Kane Williamson then struck a 90-run stand that revived the Kiwi innings and set them up for a 150-plus score. Despite the strong stand put on by the Kiwi pair, Chennai fans saved their loudest applause for Yuvraj Singh when he came on to bowl the seventh over. Playing his first game since the Test against the West Indies in November last year, Yuvraj gave away only four runs in his first over. McCullum, meanwhile, was particularly aggressive as he repeatedly charged down the track to R Ashwin while bringing up his half-century in just 32 deliveries. Williamson (28) tried to improvise, but fell while attempting to scoop Irfan Pathan to the fine leg boundary, to hand R Ashwin a tricky catch running backwards at short fine leg. McCullum’s blustery innings, nonetheless, carried the New Zealand score past 100 in 14 overs.
McCullum eventually fell nine short of what would have been an outstanding ton; the swashbuckling batsman was bowled by a slower Irfan Pathan delivery. McCullum made 91 off 55 balls and New Zealand were 139 for four at the loss of his wicket. Ross Taylor (25* off 19) and Jacob Oram (18* off nine) then played a couple of cameos to take New Zealand to 167 for five in 20 overs. For the hosts, Irfan Pathan was the pick of the bowlers, finishing with figures of 4-0-31-3, while Yuvraj Singh bowled his two overs for 14 runs.
Virat Kohli, opening the innings, got India off to a quick start as he hit a flurry of boundaries to take the score to 19 for no loss at the end of two overs. But with Gautam Gambhir (3) out caught and bowled by Kyle Mills in the third over, the Kiwis looked to have pulled things back a bit.
That wasn’t the case as Kohli and Suresh Raina kept finding boundaries at will. Raina enjoyed a moment of good fortune when he was put down by Adam Milne, diving to his left at mid-off, in the sixth over. Raina’s 22-ball 27 saw him add 60 for the second wicket with Virat, before he was caught at short cover by Ross Taylor with the Indian score at 86 in the 11th over.
Yuvraj Singh, batting at No.4, then walked out to some more raucous applause. The swashbuckling left-hander took just five deliveries to find the boundary; a thick edge off his blade made its way to the third-man boundary. A few deliveries later, Yuvraj survived a dropped catch in what turned out to be a nasty collision between Brendon McCullum and Kyle Mills. Both players attempted to catch a miscued Yuvraj pull shot off Milne, only for the ball to pop out of McCullum’s gloves as the two players crashed into each other.
India appeared to be cruising as Yuvraj and Virat then smashed a six each off Daniel Vettori in the 13th over. But with Kohi (70) falling to James Franklin, caught at wide long-off by Tim Southee the very next over, New Zealand clawed their way back into the game.
With the hosts needing 44 off the last six overs, Yuvraj and MS Dhoni struggled to find the boundary. For the visitors, Vettori, Jacob Oram and Franklin bowled a tight line to set up a 25-run target off the last two overs. Yuvraj (34) lofted Oram for six in the penultimate over to relieve some of the pressure; but with Franklin bowling the left-hander out with India needing six off the last three balls, the game swung decisively in New Zealand’s favour. Rohit Sharma tried to get India past the finish line; but with Franklin holding his nerve, the Kiwis scrambled to a one-run win. Dhoni remained unbeaten on 22.
Brief scores: New Zealand 167/5 in 20.0 overs (Brendon McCullum 91, Irfan Pathan 3/31) beat India 166/4 in 20.0 overs (Virat Kohli 70, Yuvraj Singh 34, Kyle Mills 2/17) by one run
Man-of-the-Match: Brendon McCullum for his sparkling 55-ball 91 (11x4, 3x6)
Man of the series: Brendon McCullum