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India level T20 series: Krunal restricts, Rohit blasts, Rishabh finishes

Press Trust of India  |  Auckland 

watched from the 22 yards distance as his heir apparent showed spunk in a tricky situation, guiding to a comfortable seven-wicket victory against in the second T20 International here Friday.

The chase was set up by (50 off 29 balls) in company of Shikhar Dhawan (30, 31 balls) with a 79-run stand after Krunal Pandya got three wickets to restrict the hosts to 158/8. With whirlwind fifty, Rohit also became the top run-getter in the format, surpassing

Dhoni, the original master finisher couldn't have been happier as he saw Pant control what could have been a tricky 159-run chase chase with an unbeaten 40 off 28 balls. The series is now tied 1-1 with the decider in Hamilton on Sunday.

With the former (20 no off 17 balls) playing the role of a mentor at the other end, the 44-run stand was very significant as Indian slowly moves towards a change of in coming days.

Pant's one-handed six off or the bowler's back drive off to finish off the match were reminiscent of Dhoni's best days. He hit four boundaries and a six in all.

The flicked six off Kuggeleijn over backward square leg was treat for the eyes but their dismissal along with Vijay Shankar's did create a bit of unrest but Pant ensured that they didn't press the panic button.

The innings would certainly help him make a strong case for being included in squad.

Earlier, Krunal enhanced his already growing reputation as a steady short format bowler with three important breakthroughs as restricted to a below-par 158/8.

The parsimonious Krunal (3/28 in 4 overs) dismissed (12) and (20) to peg the Black Caps back early in the innings.

In between, Krunal also got the controversial wicket of (1), who fell pray to an umpiring howler, when 'Hotspot' showed a clear inside edge onto the pads.

However, Colin de Grandhomme, who has played for KKR in the IPL, then counter-attacked, scoring a blistering 50 off 28 balls, adding 77 runs with (42 off 36 balls) for the fifth wicket.

Once De Grandhomme was sent back to the dug-out by Hardik Pandya (1/36 in 4 overs) and Taylor was run-out, New Zealand's chances of a big total went up in smoke.

It was a much-improved performance by the Indian bowlers with Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1/29 in 4 overs) removing (12) in the very third over with a fuller delivery, inducing an inside edge to behind the stumps.

However, it was Krunal, who really applied the brakes after being brought inside the Powerplay overs.

The elder Pandya quickly found the ideal length, bowling his usual wicket to wicket deliveries with a flatter trajectory.

Both Munro and Williamson got skidders. While the left-handed opener Munro hit one straight to the cover, Williamson was caught plumb in-front.

However, it was the dismissal of Mitchell that once again raised the 'Spirit of Cricket' debate even though it was a clear case of an umpiring howler by TV umpire

Krunal angled one into Mitchell, who got an inside edge onto the pads. The on-field umpire adjudged him leg before and he promptly asked for DRS.

As the giant screen showed that a faint edge could be detected by Hotspot, to everyone's dismay, TV umpire pressed the red button to signal out.

After that, it was left to India to call the back but he didn't do so.

At 50 for 4, it was De Grandhomme, who took charge as he attacked Yuzvendra Chahal (0/37 in 4 overs), hitting him for a couple of sixes.

When he was just about threatening to take the game away, De Grandhomme smacked one straight to covers in Rohit's hands.

India bowled 35 dot balls, which could well be decisive in the final context of the match.

Young Khaleel Ahmed (2/27) polished off two wickets in the end. He and Bhuvneshwar also bowled 18 dot balls between them.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, February 08 2019. 15:10 IST
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