A clinical India beat New Zealand by seven wickets in the second T20 International (T20I) on Friday. With this victory, India are now back on level terms at 1-1 in the three-match series. Krunal Pandya’s three-for and skipper Rohit Sharma’s blistering fifty spurred the men in blue to a convincing win at the Eden Park, Auckland.
The chase was set up by skipper Rohit Sharma (50 off 29 balls) in company of Shikhar Dhawan (30, 31 balls) with a 79-run stand. With whirlwind fifty, Rohit also became the top run-getter in the format, surpassing Martin Guptill. The finishing touches were applied by Rishabh Pant (40 off 28 balls) as veteran MS Dhoni watched from the other end.
Earlier, New Zealand won the toss and elected to bat first but Krunal’s early blows inside the Powerplay overs, which included two important wickets, restricted New Zealand to 158/8. Chasing under lights India romped home comfortably with seven wickets in hand.
Krunal (3/28 in 4 overs) dismissed Colin Munro (12) and skipper Kane Williamson (20) to peg back the Black Caps.
Krunal also got the controversial wicket of Daryl Mitchell (1), who fell pray to an umpiring howler, when ‘Hotspot’ showed a clear inside edge onto the pads.
However, all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme played a counter-attacking innings (50 off 28 balls) and added 77 runs with Ross Taylor (42 off 36 balls) for the fifth wicket.
But once De Grandhomme and Taylor were back in the dug out, New Zealand lost momentum and ultimately folded for 158.
Seamers Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1/29 in 4 overs) and Khaleel Ahmed (2/27) also came up with a much-improved performance. India bowled 35 dot balls, wherein 18 were delivered between Khaleel and Bhuvneshwar.
159 became a straightforward chase, once Rohit Sharma got into his groove early on. His 29-ball 50 set up the platform from where Rishabh Pant took over. Pant displayed brute force scoring a quickfire 40 as the calm head in MS Dhoni guided India past the finishing line.