Twitter Reactions: Clinical India chase down 165 against gutsy New Zealand in the final over

Twitter Reactions: Clinical India chase down 165 against gutsy New Zealand in the final over

Surya, Ashwin and Bhuvi were the top performers for India in the game.

Suryakumar Yadav and Rishabh Pant
Suryakumar Yadav and Rishabh Pant. (Photo by Pankaj Nangia/Getty Images)

India have begun their journey to the next T20 World Cup beating New Zealand by five wickets in the final over of the innings. It was actually a clinical performance from the home side with the bowlers first restricting the visitors to a decent total and then the batters did very well with Suryakumar Yadav leading the chase. However, the Kiwis put up an admirable fight to take it down the wire before India sealed the game to take a lead.

Earlier, New Zealand lost their T20 World Cup hero Daryl Mitchell in the first over for a golden duck. Bhuvneshwar Kumar sent his middle-stump for a walk with a brilliant inswinger and even Mitchell was guilty of not moving his feet at all. But this was the only success the hosts had the better part of next 13 overs. Mark Chapman came out to bat at three with Kane Williamson not playing this series.

Interestingly, he farmed a lot more strike with Martin Guptill only watching the action from the other end. The duo got their eyes in first and New Zealand scored only 65 runs in the opening 10 overs of the innings. This is when Guptill started to play his shots and they came off spectacularly well. Chapman also smacked some gorgeous shots to get to his half-century.

Guptill, at the other end, threatened to take the game away from India quickly. But the veteran off-spinner Ravi Ashwin had other ideas. The 109-run partnership was finally broken by him with a wonderful loopy off-spinning delivery which disturbed the stumps of Chapman. In the same over, Glenn Phillips couldn’t read Ashwin’s variations and the 14th over, in the context of the innings, changed the momentum completely.

Guptill played his strokes smashing Deepak Chahar out of the park in the 17th over and getting to 70. But the bowler had his man off the next delivery itself and stared back at him having won the battle. The rest of the batters couldn’t really get going with Bhuvneshwar Kumar returning to his best at the death as New Zealand finished at 164/6 in their 20 overs.

Surya leads the chase for India

India needed a good start to chase down the 165-run target. But when there is New Zealand in the opposition, nothing is certain with Trent Boult and Tim Southee taking the new ball. India’s openers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul started off cautiously before churning out runs off Southee. Soon Rohit got stuck into Boult to smash him for 21 runs in the fifth over of the innings which also included a belligerent pull shot for a huge six.

It forced Southee to introduce India’s nemesis Mitchell Santner in the sixth over and the left-arm spinner struck right away dismissing Rahul. In Virat Kohli’s absence, Suryakumar Yadav got a chance to bat at three and the partnership was built for the second wicket. Another half-century partnership followed with Rohit and Surya both looking comfortable in the middle.

At one stage, it felt like the duo would easily get the team over the line. But it wasn’t to be. Boult came back for his final spell to trap the India skipper for 48. But Surya looked solid at the other end and the 360 Degree shot making was on as he left the crowd in awe. He also got to his third half-century in the T20Is off just 34 balls. Again, Surya looked set to take India home with his antics but he threw it away with 21 runs needing off 20 balls.

Rishabh Pant was relatively new in the middle and Shreyas Iyer walked in at five and understandably, they couldn’t get going from the outset. A good over from Boult and then from Lockie Ferguson, brought the equation down to 16 runs in the last two overs. Southee did well in the penultimate over to concede only six runs and also pick Iyer’s wicket to leave Daryl Mitchell 10 runs to get in the final over.

India had debutant Venkatesh Iyer and Pant in the middle. The former started off his career well hitting a boundary off his first ball but then again weirdly tried a reverse sweep only to get caught. India still needed five runs off last four balls and Pant was only watching the action from the other end with Axar Patel on strike. The pressure was on both batter and bowler and Mitchell bowled a wide next after which Axar brought Pant back on strike.

The left-hander then did well to walk down the wicket to the bowler and hit over mid-off fielder for a four and seal what should’ve been a comfortable win for India.

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