India’s cricket team has fought back to level the three match T20 International series against New Zealand. The Indians won the second match in at Eden Park in Auckland comprehensively, by seven wickets.
Playing with the momentum from their record 80-run victory in Wellington on Wednesday, the Kiwis won the toss and didn’t hesitate to bat first. Unfortunately for the hosts, their top order batsmen all made starts but just couldn’t kick on as spinner Krunal Pandya grabbed three quick wickets to reduce New Zealand to 50 for the loss of four wickets by the eighth over.
It was the experienced Ross Taylor and Colin de Grandhomme who steadied their innings. The pair remained composed enough to share in a 77 run fifth wicket stand.
The in-form De Grandhomme was the aggressor, clubbing his maiden half-century in T20 cricket from just 28 deliveries.
When De Grandhomme departed for 50 and Taylor for 42, the Kiwi resistance was all but over as India’s death bowlers took three wickets in the last two overs, conceding just five runs.
New Zealand eventually posted 158 for eight in 20 overs.
Knowing that this was a must-win clash for his side to keep the three match series alive, India’s captain Rohit Sharma was determined to take the fight to the hosts from the very first over. The captain shared in a 79-run opening stand with Shikar Dharwan, with Sharma notching up his 16th T20 half-century. He was dismissed soon after and India seemed to wobble a bit, losing two more wickets in quick succession, leaving them on 118 for three in the 14th over.
However, Rishabh Pant and veteran Mahendra-Singh Dhoni ensured that their side got over the line. They shared in match-winning 44-run partnership, with Pant finishing unbeaten on 40 and Dhoni on 20 as they coasted to a seven wicket victory with seven deliveries to spare.
The final match of the series is a night game in Hamilton on Sunday.