Krunal, Rohit Star as India Level NZ T20I Series With Cruising Win
- India beat New Zealand by 7 wickets in second T20I at Auckland to level three-match series at 1-1.
- Rohit Sharma becomes leading run-getter in T20Is, hits 50 as India chase down 159-run target in 18.5 overs.
- Krunal Pandya (3/28) and Khaleel Ahmed (2/27) had earlier helped limit NZ to 158/8 after they opted to bat.
- Series-deciding third T20I to take place at Hamilton on Sunday, 10 February.
A record-breaking day for captain Rohit Sharma backed up a disciplined effort with the ball as India levelled their T20I series in New Zealand at 1-1 with a seven-wicket win at Auckland on Friday, 8 February.
Having suffered their biggest defeat in the format in the opening game, India bounced back with a strong all-round display, headlined by a particularly impressive bowling effort on a small Eden Park outfield.
Krunal Pandya, later named Player of the Match, derailed the Kiwi lineup early on with three quick strikes – the second of them leading to a DRS controversy – and with the pacers finding the right lengths after the pasting at Wellington, the visitors limited New Zealand to 158/8 after the hosts opted to bat.
The run-chase was set on course by Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, who shared a 79-run stand. The Indian skipper, over the course of a 29-ball 50, became the leading run-getter in T20 internationals.
Rishabh Pant (40 not out off 28 balls) and MS Dhoni (20 not out off 17 balls) comfortably polished off the target as India were home with seven balls to spare and seven wickets in hand.
The teams will now move to Hamilton for the series-deciding third T20I on Sunday, 10 February.
“I was very pleased with the way we bowled to start with and then it was very clinical with the bat as well. Something like that we were expecting. We’ve got quality in our side. It’s just that we didn’t execute our plans in the first game and we learned from our mistakes. We executed those plans in this game and we got the reward for it.”Rohit Sharma
New Zealand fell well short of the total they needed to have any chance of beating India at Eden Park, a venue where Australia had successfully chased down 244 in 18.5 overs last year.
Krunal and Bhuvneshwar Kumar dismantled the New Zealand top order, reducing the home side to 50/4 after 7.5 overs.
Colin de Grandhomme raced to a maiden T20 half-century from 27 balls in a 77-run fifth-wicket partnership with Ross Taylor (42) which revived the New Zealand innings. But Hardik Pandya removed de Grandhomme, and Khaleel Ahmed took two late wickets to ensure New Zealand fell short of an adequate total.
New Zealand needed early wickets but Sharma and Dhawan denied them, knocking off almost half of India's target inside the first 10 overs.
Sharma reached his 16th T20 half-century from 28 balls with three fours and four sixes. He was out immediately afterwards, caught in the deep by Tim Southee from the bowling of Ish Sodhi.
India stayed ahead of the run-rate, and Pant saw the visitors home in a superb partnership with his mentor, Dhoni.
Dhoni came to the crease to an enormous ovation from the crowd of 30,000, almost two-thirds of whom were India fans and most of whom had come to watch Dhoni in his last tour to New Zealand.
The pair came together when India were 118/3 in the 14th over and saw India home in the 19th over when Pant struck a four down the ground off Scott Kuggeleijn.