Opener Colin Munro hammered an unbeaten 109 before bowlers straitjacketed the Indian batsmen as New Zealand outplayed the hosts by 40 runs in the second T20I to level the three-match series in Rajkot on Saturday. Left-handed Munro used his bat like a sledge-hammer, striking seven sixes and as many fours in his 58-balls knock to power New Zealand to an imposing 196 for two.
Munro raised a 105-run partnership for the first wicket with Martin Guptill 45 off 41, setting the platform for a big total in their do-or-die match against India. The third and final match of the series will be played on November 7 at Thiruvananthapuram.
Top-order blows pegged India back with both the openers - Shikhar Dhawan (1) and Rohit Sharma (5) - sent back by pacer Trent Boult (4/34). The duo, who had made identical 80 runs in a record opening stand of 158 for a winning cause in the series opener at Delhi, were out to poor shots, Dhawan losing his stumps when playing across to the left arm pacer and Sharma hanging his bat out loosely to be caught behind.
Captain Virat Kohli kept India's hopes alive with a typically aggressive innings of 65, studded with a six and eight fours, the home teams asking rate kept climbing steeply and in the end, they fell well short by 40 runs. The hosts ended at 156 for seven in 20 overs.
At the halfway stage, India were 71 for 4, requiring 126 more to win the game and take a winning 2-0 lead in the series. Kohli, finding the gap to hit a four regularly, and his predecessor at the helm, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, kept India in sight of the target with a stand of 56 runs. The Indian skipper reached his 18th half century in 32 balls. At the end of the 15th over, the home side required 85 in 30 balls, a tall order. And it proved to be so as Kohli stepped out to Santner for a mighty heave and edged to the New Zealand keeper and India's task became even more difficult at 123 for 5 with 21 balls remaining.