India vs New Zealand, 2nd T20I, Top Performances: Yuzvendra Chahal-Wasington Sundar's 2-21, Michael Bracewell's 1-13 and Suryakumar Yadav's 26 are top performances. India beat New Zealand by six wickets and level the three-match series by 1-1.
Brief scores: India 101/4 (SKY 26*, Bracewell 1/13) beat New Zealand 99/8 (Santner 19*, Arshdeep 2/7) by 6 wickets
Player of the match: Suryakumar Yadav (26*)
After losing the first T20I, India needed to win the second T20I against New Zealand at Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium, Lucknow, on Sunday to level the series. India, however, had to toil hard in a low-scoring thriller, winning the match by 6 wickets with a ball to spare.
It was a turning deck right from the outset and it all boiled down to which side’s spinners fared better to turn the match in their team’s favour. India spinners bowled 13 overs giving a miserly 55 runs for 4 wickets. New Zealand spinners were also outstanding with the ball, bowling 17 overs and conceding 78 runs for 2 wickets. If New Zealand were in the game till the last over, all due credit to their spinners for keeping the match in the balance. Overall, spinners bowled 30 overs in this match, conceding 133 runs for 5 wickets.
New Zealand succumb to India’s spin web
After being asked to bowl first, India started with Washington Sundar in the second over itself, and it was clear that spinners will hold the edge in this match. New Zealand too played a role in their dismissals as they played reverse sweep instead of playing with a straight bat on a turning wicket to Indian spinners.
Finn Allen was bowled for 11 after an attempted reverse sweep saw the ball hit the pads before disturbing the stumps off the bowling off Yuzvendra Chahal, who was drafted in the XI in place of Umran Malik. Devon Conway too fell to a reverse sweep as the ball touched his gloves to keeper Ishan Kishan off the bowling of Washington Sundar. Glenn Phillips was bowled after missing a reverse sweep completely against Deepak Hooda. Mark Chapman was run out after a reverse sweep fell short of Kuldeep Yadav, who was quick to throw the ball to the keeper’s end to disturb the stumps.
The ball of the innings was bowled by Kuldeep Yadav who spun the ball from way outside the off stump to crash it in, as Daryl Mitchell erred in playing on the back foot and missed it completely. Indian pacers then bowled brilliantly at the death to restrict New Zealand to 99/8 with Arshdeep Singh taking 2/7 in two overs.
India made heavy weather of the chase
India had 100 runs to chase, but they made heavy weather of it. The pitch was difficult to score runs off. Also, New Zealand spinners, even part-time tweakers such as Glenn Philips, made life difficult for Indian batters. Shubman Gill fell again to a pull shot off a short ball from Michael Bracewell for 11. Kishan struggled to rotate the strike and was run out for 19. Rahul Tripathi holed out in the deep off Ish Sodhi for 13, while Sundar was run out for 10 after a mix-up with Suryakumar Yadav.
Finally, SKY and Hardik Pandya got India home with a ball to spare. SKY cracked a four off Blair Tickner to take India across the finish line in the penultimate ball of the match. The two put on an unbeaten 31-run stand. SKY remained unbeaten on 26 not out off 31 balls with 1 four, while Pandya was not out on 15.
Let’s scan the top three performances from the 2nd T20I between India and New Zealand at Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow.
Michael Bracewell’s 1/13
With just 100 runs to defend, New Zealand went to their spinners straightaway after the first over of pace. And it was the right move as India was caught in a spin web. Due credit must be given to right-arm off-break bowler Michael Bracewell who bowled his four overs, conceding just 13 runs, with the prize wicket of Shubman Gill.
Bracewell bowled 14 dot balls in his spell of 4 overs. It was Bracewell’s 3 overs for 9 runs in the powerplay that restricted India from having a flying start and kept New Zealand in the hunt till the very end.
India spinners’ 4/55 in 13 overs
It was India’s spinners who came to the party in this match. Washington Sundar started in the powerplay overs and kept New Zealand on a tight leash. He dismissed the dangerous Devon Conway who gloved the ball to keeper Kishan while playing a reverse sweep. Sundar took 1/17 in his 3 overs.
Earlier, it was Chahal who opened the floodgates, getting Finn Allen bowled in a maiden wicket over. Chahal bowled his second over for another 4 runs, but he didn’t get another over and ended up with 1 for 4 in 2 overs. Part-time spinner Deepak Hooda finished his quota of 4 overs and bowled stump to stump to restrict New Zealand. He also dismissed Glenn Phillips bowled for 4 to end up with 1/17 in 4 overs.
Kuldeep Yadav was in his elements, getting the most turn along with Chahal. Daryll Mitchell was doing all things right, playing on the front foot to tackle Kuldeep, but erred once to play on the back foot for the ball to turn sharply from way outside off stump straight into the timbre. Overall, it was a brilliant show from India’s spinners. The four spinners combined to take four wickets for 55 runs in 13 overs.
Suryakumar Yadav’s 26 not out off 31 balls
Suryakumar Yadav is known for his 360-degree shots, but the number 4 batter restricted his shotmaking, giving respect to the conditions, bowlers and the turning pitch in this match. He made sure he remained till the end to take India across the finish line in the company of Hardik Pandya.
Surya did not scored a boundary until his winning four in the penultimate ball of the match. He played 31 balls for his 26 not out – a rare innings from SKY who is known for a strike rate of over 150 in T20Is. Nevertheless, SKY would rate this knock highly coming in a successful chase. He posted a match-winning stand of 31* with Hardik Pandya for the fifth wicket to take India home.
The win was India’s 11th against New Zealand in 24 T20Is. They have lost 10 and one ended in a tie.
Chahal has become the highest wicket-taker for India in T20Is, taking his wicket tally to 91 in 75 matches. Bhuvneshwar Kumar is second with 90 wickets in 87 matches.
New Zealand posted their lowest total of 99/8 in a complete 20 over/all out innings against India in T20Is. Their previous lowest was 111 against India at Eden Gardens in Kolkata in 2021.
Decider on Wednesday
India and New Zealand will play the decider on Wednesday, February 1, at Ahmedabad. With the series level at 1-1, the third T20I is a virtual final. India have a good record in bilateral series, and hence, they will start favourites in the decider.