Rajkot, Nov 4: New Zealand put up a clinical performance to defeat India by 40 runs in the second Twenty20 international match at Rajkot to level the series 1-1 on Saturday (November 4).
Pacer Trent Boult returned with a four-for after Colin Munro hammered a quickfire 109* to propel the visitors to 196/2 batting first. Boult did the bulk of the damage, finishing with a career-best 4/34 after some high-quality bowling with the new ball and at the death.
Left-arm pacer rattled the Indian batting order by sending the openers Shikhar Dhawan (1) and Rohit Sharma (5) in his very first over. With the departure of their most aggressive run-getters in the second over of the innings, Indians couldn't match the required rate.
Virat Kohli top scored for India with 65 and MS Dhoni made a 37-ball 49 but no other batsman rose to the occasion in the run chase.
It was a shambolic defeat for India in the big run chase as they were outclassed by New Zealand in every department tonight. In stark contrast to India, the Kiwi spinners Ish Sodhi and Mitchell Santner bowled exceptionally well defending the total and didn't let the Indian batsmen free their hands.
Sodhi was particularly impressive as he conceded just 25 runs from his quota of 4 overs and even picked up the wicket of Hardik Pandya.
Dhoni and Kohli put up a partnership of 56 runs for the fifth wicket. But it was one of those occasions when India's biggest finishers Kohli and Dhoni failed to take them home despite a 50+ partnership. Dhoni struggled to rotate the strike with Kohli at the other end in the middle overs as the asking rate kept mounting.
Earlier, opener Colin Munro's blistering 109* off 58 deliveries and some powerful hitting by Martin Guptill set the tone for New Zealand as they posted a daunting to 196/2 in the 20 overs.
Munro notched up his second T20I ton as Indian kept giving him a lot of chances by dropping a few catches and missing run outs. The left-handed batsman's innings was studded with seven sixes and as many fours. Munro 1/23 from three overs was equally good with the ball as well.
Guptill scored a quickfire 45 to give the visitors a solid start before debutant Mohammed Siraj dismissed him. Indians now require an imposing 197 to win the match and take an unassailable lead in the series.
Colin Munro's gung-ho gun show has blitzed New Zealand to a series-levelling victory in Rajkot. The left-hander blasted his second T20I century in a devastating assault containing seven massive maximums, as he rode his luck courtesy of some dodgy Indian fielding.
It was always going to be a tough chase for the hosts needing 197 for the win, and despite Virat Kohli's threatening half-century, the Kiwis took wickets at regular intervals.
That means the series is set up beautifully at 1-1, with the decider taking place on Tuesday (November 7) at Thiruvananthapuram.
Earlier, New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson once again won the toss and elected to bat first in a must-win game.
Young Hyderabad pacer Mohammed Siraj made his international debut as he was handed over his India cap by head coach Ravi Shastri. But he had a forgettable outing in his debut game as he leaked 53 runs from 4 overs. The only consolation for him was that he picked up the wicket of a dangerous looking Guptill.
Pacers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah might not have got any wickets but they were still good with their bowling. Together they conceded 52 runs from their 8 overs and once again gave runs miserly in the death overs. But rest of the four bowlers leaked 142/2 from the remaining 12 overs and picked up two wickets.
Indian spinners were a big let down as they couldn't pose any challenge on a pitch conducive of batting.