Sunday, November 5, 2017

IND vs NZ T20I: Munro's ton helps New Zealand beat India by 40 runs

Native to New Zealand, kiwis are flightless birds. But this set of Kiwis, currently touring India, not only took flight at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot on Saturday but actually soared. Batting to their full potential after winning the toss, they made 196 for 2 in their 20 overs. In reply, India managed just 156/7, losing by 20 runs, leaving the series locked 1-1, with the decider on Tuesday in Thiruvanathapuram.

NZ's Colin Munro during his unbeaten 109 v India in the second T20I at Rajkot yesterday. Pics/PTI
NZ's Colin Munro during his unbeaten 109 v India in the second T20I at Rajkot yesterday. Pics/PTI

NZ opener Colin Munro, in particular, batted majestically and was unconquered on a truly regal 109 (58 balls, 7x4, 7x6). Considering this was a do-or-die match for them having suffered a defeat in the first T20I in Delhi, the Kiwis appeared determined to go after the Indian bowlers right from the start. The wicket was tailor-made for batting and newcomer Mohd Siraj, who made his international debut replacing Ashish Nehra, provided the fodder to Martin Guptill and Munro, who went berserk. It poured fours and sixes almost at will and soon it was not a question of how to get rid of them, but how to stop the flow of runs as no bowler was making any impact. India were lucky to finally get Guptill (45 off 41, 3x4, 3x6) off leggie Yuzvendra Chahal, but by then NZ were commandingly placed at 105 for 1 in 11.1 overs.

India's Shikhar Dhawan is clean bowled.
India's  Shikhar Dhawan is clean bowled.

Left-handed Munro, who had been deprived of much of the strike during the opening stand, then cut frighteningly loose and just about massacred Siraj and spinners Chahal and Axar Patel. It was a bit of a surprise why Virat Kohli persisted with medium-pacer Siraj and only once called upon Hardik Pandya, who gave 14 runs in his one over. Munro was in such a murderous mood that he completed his second T20I century off just 54 balls (6x4, 7x6).

In reply, India lost openers Shikhar Dhawan (1) and Rohit Sharma (5) early — both sent back by pacer Trent Boult, who finished with 4/34. Captain Virat Kohli did keep India's hopes alive with a quickfire 65 off 452 balls, the asking rate just kept climbing.

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