DateLine: 13th September 2012
India vs New Zealand
Finally, rain did allow Yuvraj Singh to make a comeback after the opening game was washed out in Visakhapatnam on Saturday. It was a thriller of a contest, as New Zealand clinched a win off the last ball at Chennai on Tuesday. They also won the the two-match series, a tune-up for the upcoming World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka.
India won the toss and decided to field first in the 2nd T20 game on September 11, 2012. Brendon McCullum's 55-ball 91 lifted New Zealand to a total of 167 for 5 and India finished on 166 for 4 to give the Kiwis their only victory during their tour.
Inside the first nine balls, Zaheer Khan sent scoreless Rob Nicol back to the pavilion and fellow left-arm seamer Irfan Pathan breached Martin Guptill's (1) defence. New Zealand added 40 runs and lost two wickets during the mandatory powerplay. McCullum's 91 included 11 boundaries and 3 sixes while Kane Williamson contributed (28) to pull the visitors out of their wobbly start.
Taylor and Oram managed to plunder 21 runs in the last two overs, which proved costly for India in the end.
Pathan (3-31) broke the partnership when Williamson fluffed his scoop shot and Ashwin ran backwards from short fine leg to take a smart catch. McCullum's knock is considered to be the highest score by any player against India at home, in T20Is. The Kiwi opener, received the man of the series award for the first time, while he received his fifth Man of the match award, his third against India.
Yuvraj, who went wicketless in his two overs, left the ground having hurt himself trying to catch McCullum off his own bowling before returning to catch James Franklin off Lakshmipathy Balaji.
India were cruising at 120 for 2 in the 14th over when left-arm seamer James Franklin turned the match around by having Kohli caught in the deep. The dismissal put the brakes on the scoring, leaving India needing 13 runs off Franklin's last over. Virat Kohli top-scored for India with a 41-ball 70 and Yuvraj contributed 34 runs off 26 balls on his return to the side following cancer treatment. Luck did favour the left-hander earlier when his top-edge eluded McCullum and Kyle Mills who were involved in a nasty collision while going for the catch.
Kohli batted very well and could have taken the game away from the Kiwis but they bowled brilliantly and the wicket helpfully also slowed down a bit during the evening which made it quite difficult for the hosts to play strokes but they did come within an inch of winning.
Kohli's knock was the highest score by an Indian batsman against New Zealand in T20s.
MS Dhoni and Yuvraj struggled trying to time the ball sweetly and instead decided to work the ball away for any feasible singles and doubles to keep the score board ticking as James Franklin and Jacob Oram took pace off the ball to make it even harder and the asking-rate went high suddenly.
Dhoni, having promoted himself ahead of Manoj Tiwary and Rohit Sharma, ended unbeaten on 22 off 23 deliveries.
Franklin in the last over of the match, bowled out Yuvraj with the fourth ball when 6 more were needed, but new batsman Rohit Sharma could manage only four runs from the last two deliveries.
Irfan Pathan's 3/31 is his best against New Zealand, apart from recording the best in India in T20Is. Pathan also became the first Indian bowler to claim three wickets in an innings against NZ in T20s. New Zealand is the second team after South Africa to have registered two wins by one run in T20Is. Totally there have been seven one-run victories in T20 internationals so far.
Interestingly, India have lost all of their four T20I matches played against New Zealand so far.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
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