India survived a spin scare and held their nerve to beat New Zealand by six wickets in the second T20I and level the three-match series 1-1 at Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium, here on Sunday, 29 January.
Indian bowlers produced a sensational performance to restrict New Zealand to 99/8 in 20 overs. Spinners spun the web and took the first five wickets of New Zealand, who never got the momentum throughout the innings. The Indian pacers then did a brilliant finishing job for the hosts.
Arshdeep Singh (2-7) was the most successful bowler for India; while Yuzvendra Chahal (1-4), Kuldeep Yadav (1-17), Deepak Hooda (1-17), Washington Sundar (1/17) and Hardik Pandya (1/25) also picked vital wickets at regular intervals.
Chasing a small total on a challenging pitch, India were also in trouble after they were reduced to 50/3 in 10.4 overs but Suryakumar Yadav once again showed his class.
Yadav played a crucial knock (26 not out off 31), stitched vital partnerships with Washington Sundar (10) and Hardik Pandya (15 not out), and eventually hit the winning boundary for India in the last over. Michael Bracewell (1-13), and Ish Sodhi (1-24) were the wicket-takers for Black Caps.
India Restrict New Zealand to 99
Earlier, New Zealand won the toss and opted to bat first. Opener Devon Conway hit Hardik Pandya for a boundary in the first over while Washington Sundar bowled a disciplined second over. Pandya came back for the third over and Finn Allen got a lucky boundary, with wicket-keeper Ishan Kishan missing a tough chance.
With the pitch assisting spinners, Hardik brought on Yuzvendra Chahal very early in the innings and the move paid off. Finn Allen (11), who was getting a bit frustrated, wanted to bring out the reverse sweep but with Chahal turning the ball he failed to connect it with the bat and got bowled.
After Chahal bowled a wicket-maiden, Washington followed it up with a wicket as well after he dismissed Conway (11). The left-hander, who scored a match-winning fifty in the last game, attempted a reverse sweep but the ball went up after coming in contact with the glove, only to be caught by the keeper.
Soon, Deepak Hooda was introduced in the attack and he struck immediately with another Kiwi batter in Glenn Phillips (5) perishing while trying the reverse sweep. India's spinners were taking control of the game and it didn't take Kuldeep Yadav much time to make an impact as he cleaned up Daryl Mitchell (8).
On a tricky surface on which spinners were dominating, run-out was the last thing that New Zealand needed. However, the lack of communication between Mark Chapman (14) and Michael Bracewell saw the former get run out, leaving the Black Caps at 60/5 after 12.4 overs.
Thereafter, Bracewell and Mitchell Santner had a brief stand of 20 runs before Hardik Pandya brought himself on for a second and final spell to fetch a wicket. Bracewell got a top edge and Arshdeep took a near-perfect catch at the fine-leg boundary.
After waiting for a long time, Arshdeep came to bowl right at death and stuck immediately. Using the short balls to great effect, the left-armer removed Ish Sodhi and Lockie Ferguson in the same over. Eventually, skipper Mitchell Santner's fighting knock (19 not out off 23) along with Jacob Duffy (6 not out) took New Zealand to a respectable total of 99-8 in 20 Overs.