Indian spinners enjoyed on a turning track before heavy weather of a small target to register a poor series leveling win over New Zealand in the second T20 International in Lucknow on Sunday. The trio of Yuzvendra Chahal, Washington Sundar and Kuldeep Yadav impressed on a self-destructive surface that helped restrict New Zealand to 99 for eight, their lowest total against India in the shortest format. It should have been a straightforward run chase, but the top-order of Ishan Kishan (19 off 32), Shubman Gill (11 off 9) and Rahul Tripathi (13 off 18) again in spin-friendly conditions It was a difficult time.
In the end, Hardik Pandya (15 not out off 20) and Suryakumar Yadav (26 not out off 31) took the team to victory with a ball to spare and six wickets in hand.
The series decider will be played in Ahmedabad on Wednesday.
With players like Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli not playing T20s since last year’s World Cup, opportunities have opened up for youngsters who haven’t been able to figure them out yet.
Kishan has been off the boil since his double hundred in Bangladesh, while Gill has not been able to continue his excellent ODI form in T20Is. The stylish right-handed batsman fell for the second game in a row trying to pull the spinner but was surprised by the amount of turn.
In the absence of Kohli, Tripathi, who played at number three, could not attack the New Zealand spinners.
The Indians felt the pressure and it was evident in the run out of Washington Sundar, who sacrificed his wicket to ensure the Suns stayed in the middle.
Since the asking rate was never an issue, India could afford to stutter while chasing the target.
In the 19th over, Hardik’s 45-ball boundary released a lot of pressure before the skipper finished the job with Surya, who hit the winning boundary.
Earlier, after starting the bowling himself, Hardik decided to use spinners from both ends in the powerplay.
Wrist spinners Kuldeep (1/17) and Chahal (1/4), playing together in a T20 after some time, took a lot out of the Lucknow surface, while finger spinner Washington (1/17) had another fine spell.
Chahal was left licking his face after the first ball of his opening spell. It was a ripper that pitched over leg stump before hitting the outside edge of Finn Allen’s bat. The opener later missed two balls in an attempt to reverse sweep and the ball landed on his back foot and hit the stumps.
In-form Devon Conway also fell to a reverse sweep as the ball kissed his gloves and caught wicketkeeper Ishan Kishan.
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 an attempt to reverse sweep the part-time off-spinner.
Daryl Mitchell gets a beauty from Kuldeep which comes back swiftly to shatter the stumps.
New Zealand batted deep but none of their batsmen could apply on the testing pitch.
Pacers Arshdeep Singh, who has been guilty of bowling too many no balls lately, and Shivam Mavi were used only in the death overs.
Arshdeep did well in his two tough overs taking wickets and conceding only eight runs. Hardik took one wicket for 25 runs in four overs.
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