A brilliant innings from Suryakumar Yadav helped India to a big win over New Zealand at the Bay Oval in Tauranga. He made an unbeaten 111 out of a total of 191/6, and tight and disciplined bowling then saw the hosts bowled out for just 126, handing India victory by a margin of 65 runs.
After the first T20I was lost to rain, both players and spectators were glad to get in a full match, especially as the weather forecast for the Tauranga area had not been particularly promising beforehand.
The outfield was still damp and the wet conditions made bowling difficult, but in the end, it was India who coped better on the night.
New Zealand won the toss and decided to field first. India initially fell into their old habit of bating cautiously at the start of their innings, failing to maximise the powerplay overs. Rishabh Pant was uncharacteristically restrained just making 6 before he was caught, and it took the arrival of Yadav at the crease for the innings to gain any momentum.
In truth he played very much a lone hand with the bat. Apart from the other opener Ishan Kishan who made 36, the rest of the Indian batting line-up failed to give him any meaningful support. On the day it did not matter, as he reached his century off 49 balls, and his final innings, which came off 51 balls featured 7 sixes and 11 fours.
In all, he was responsible for more than 58% of the runs that India scored.
New Zealand’s reply got off to a terrible start when they lost Finn Allen to just the second ball of their innings to Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and they never really recovered after that. A stand of 56 between Devon Conway and Kane Williamson initially promised much, but when Conway was dismissed for 25, Williamson was left shouldering much of the burden for his country.
Having been dropped by his Indian T20 side the Sunrisers Hyderabad, he did provide watching franchises with a reminder of his ability by making 61, but wickets fell at regular intervals, and in the end, his side were dismissed off the final ball off the penultimate over.
Deepak Hooda starred with the ball by taking 4 -10, whilst both Mohammad Siraj and Yuzvendra Chahal both finished with two wickets apiece.
Yadav maintains his World Cup form
Yadav became only the second Indian after Rohit Sharma in 2019 to complete a T20I century in a calendar year, and he continued his fine form from the World Cup, where he had vied with Virat Kohli for the accolade of India’s best player. There have been suggestions that India are over-reliant on Yadav in T20 cricket, and his performance with the bat in this match did disguise the failings of others.
However, his award for Player of the Match was richly deserved, and, by the time the next ICC T20 rankings are published, he is likely to have cemented his grip as the number one batter.
The forgotten men star with the ball
Although both Deepak Hooda and Yuzvendra Chahal were part of India’s T20 World Cup squad, neither saw a minute of action in Australia. But with the Indian selectors now sacked following the failure of the side to reach the final, this was perhaps a timely reminder that mistakes may have been made, and that trusting to the old guard may not have been the best policy.
New Zealand will want to bounce back
Like India, New Zealand were looking to bounce back after World Cup disappointment, but this was not the best way for them to start what was intended to be a new era. Without Trent Boult to lead their attack they could not put the brakes on Yadav, and they would have wanted a lot more from their batting line-up than they delivered in Tauranga.
They will be looking for a much better overall performance in the third T20I.
What happens next
The teams will them head to McLean Park in Napier for the third T20I on Tuesday. Three days after that a change in format and the ODI leg of the tour will begin.
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