In a thrilling and low-scoring match, where both teams failed to hit even one maximum, India registered victory by 6 wickets on Sunday. With the win, the men in blue leveled the three-match series. The match was played in Lucknow where opting to bat first, New Zealand scored their lowest total ever against India. However, India also struggled to chase 100 runs with the match going down to the last over.
India's spinners impressed on a rank turner to limit a self-destructing New Zealand to 99/8, their lowest total against the hosts. The kiwis registered their other lowest totals against India in 2021 with 111 runs and in 2020 with 126 runs.
With the pitch offering a sharp turn, Hardik Pandya decided to employ spinners from both ends in the powerplay after opening the bowling himself. Wrist spinners Kuldeep Chahal (1/17) and Yuzvendra Chahal (1/4), playing in a T20 together after a while, extracted a lot out of the Lucknow surface while finger spinner Washington Sundar (1/17) produced another tidy spell.
Chahal was left licking his lips after the first ball of his opening spell. It was a ripper that pitched on the leg stump before beating the outside edge of Finn Allen's bat. The opener perished two balls later trying to reverse sweep with the ball thudding into his back leg before crashing the stumps.
New Zealand were soon reduced to 35 for three in the seventh over when the dangerous Glenn Phillips missed a straight ball from Deepak Hooda in his attempt to reverse sweep the part-time off-spinner.
New Zealand bat deep but none of the batters were able to apply themselves on a testing pitch. Pacer Arshdeep Singh, who has been guilty of bowling too many no balls lately, and Shivam Mavi, were only used in the death overs.
When it comes to India's batting the aggressive intent faded soon as India kept losing wickets. The Indian openers lost three wickets very soon as Ishan Kishan, Shubman Gill, and Rahul Tripathi departed early.
Washington Sundar who looked like in a good form was run-out by miscommunication with Suryakumar. However, Suryakumar and Hardik Pandya stabilised the innings but India needed 6 runs in the last 6 balls. Suryakumar hit a four and released the pressure by winning with 1 ball to spare.
India Playing XI:
Shubman Gill, Ishan Kishan(w), Rahul Tripathi, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya(c), Deepak Hooda, Washington Sundar, Shivam Mavi, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Arshdeep Singh
New Zealand Playing XI:
Finn Allen, Devon Conway(w), Mark Chapman, Glenn Phillips, Daryl Mitchell, Michael Bracewell, Mitchell Santner(c), Ish Sodhi, Jacob Duffy, Lockie Ferguson, Blair Tickner