New Zealand registered an emphatic 40 run win over India in the 2nd T20I at Rajkot to bounce back in the 3 match series, giving the hosts a lot of things to ponder upon as they go into the decider at Thiruvananthapuram. The victory was helped by a destructive innings from Colin Munro at the top of the order, who smashed 109* of 58 balls, becoming the first ever player to hit a century vs India in India and an outrageous bowling performance from Trent Boult who registered 4/34 in his 4 overs with good support from the other end.
Winning the toss and deciding to bat first on a pitch that looked to be a batsmen’s paradise from the outset, the openers Martin Guptill and Colin Munro got New Zealand off to a flier, with some delightful stroke making and excellent rotation of strike, registering a 105 run stand for the opening wicket. The left hander went on to score 109* of 58 balls, registering his 2nd T20I hundred, becoming the 4th ever batsman to do so. Although New Zealand looked well set to reach 220 or 230 at one stage, they were restricted to 196/2 in their 20 overs courtesy of some fine death bowling by India’s death over specialists Jasprit Bumrah and Bhubaneshwar Kumar who ended up with figures of 0/23 and 0/29, giving away only 52 runs in their 8 overs.
India were never really in the run chase having lost both their openers cheaply in the 2nd over of the innings. Shreyas Iyer who was given a chance to bat ahead of Virat Kohli, looked in good touch but ended up losing his wicket to Munro, who was having a dream day with both bat and ball. Hardik pandya was promoted up the order but he failed once again as he failed to read a wrong one from Sodhi and ended up getting clean bowled. MS Dhoni came to join Virat Kohli at the crease but struggled to get the ball away to the boundary and even found it difficult to rotate the strike. The onus was now entirely on Kohli once again to take India over the finishing line.
Kohli played a fighting knock of 65 of 42 balls, bringing up his 18th T20I half century and going past Tilakaratne Dilshan to become the 2nd highest run getter in T20 cricket after Brendon McCullum. The Indian Skipper also become the 3rd ever batsman to hit 200 fours in T20 cricket after Tilakaratne Dilshan and Mohammad Shehzad.
With the required run rate surging at an alarming rate, Kohli ended up being dismissed by Santner, trying to manufacture a powerful stroke of a good delivery. Dhoni eventually managed to find the boundary but it was all too late and he was dismissed for 49 in the final over of the innings, giving the visitors which was in the end a pretty comfortable win by a margin of 40 runs. Trent Boult was the star with the ball for New Zealand picking up 4/34 in his 4 overs which included both the openers who had taken the game away from the visitors in the first match of the series.
Scorecard: New Zealand 196/2(20) Munro 109*(58), Guptill 45(41); Chahal 1/36
India 156/7(20) Kohli 65(42), Dhoni 49(37); Boult 4/34, Sodhi 1/25