India v New Zealand, 2nd T20, Chennai September 11, 2012

NZ come back to steal one-run win


New Zealand 167 for 5 (McCullum 91, Irfan 3-31) beat India 166 for 4 (Kohli 70, Mills 2-17, Franklin 2-26) by one run
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

A solitary Twenty20 it was, but it featured multiple narratives, an emotional return for Yuvraj Singh and his fans, an anti-climax for India and an incredible comeback from New Zealand. After Brendon McCullum had punched a furious 91, Virat Kohli counter-punched with a majestic 70, leaving India with 49 to get off 42 deliveries with seven wickets remaining.

That is when the Chennai pitch started to behave more like a typical Chennai pitch; the ball had come on nicely till then. MS Dhoni and Yuvraj struggled to get the ball off the square, James Franklin and Jacob Oram took all pace off the ball to make it harder, and the asking-rate surged suddenly. Dhoni, having promoted himself ahead of Manoj Tiwary and Rohit Sharma, ended unbeaten on a perplexing 22 off 23 deliveries, failing to find any timing on his swipes and slogs and reduced to nudging singles on the leg side.

With 20 needed off the last eight deliveries, Yuvraj managed to heave Oram over deep midwicket for six. With 12 needed off the last five, Dhoni managed to pull Franklin to deep square leg for four. With six needed off three, Yuvraj heaved and was bowled for 34 off 26.

There was still time for one final narrative. Enter Rohit, under pressure for his lack of form, with six still needed. He tried gamely, swinging both the remaining deliveries for a couple of runs each, but India had to pay for tapering off after Kohli's dismissal in the 14th over.

India's defeat was the last thing on the Chennai crowd's mind when Kohli, opening in place of the injured Virender Sehwag, was raining boundaries on New Zealand during his 15th fifty-plus international score this year. Wide deliveries were swatted away with disdain, length deliveries were willed into gaps with confident pushes, spinners were lofted inside-out over extra cover, fast bowlers were charged at and hammered down the ground.

Kohli's assault and his 60-run second-wicket stand with Suresh Raina allowed Yuvraj to ease into his comeback knock. The crowd erupted when Yuvraj thick-edged Adam Milne past slip for his first boundary and swung Daniel Vettori over deep midwicket for his first six. In between, he was let-off when McCullum and Kyle Mills collided trying to take a top-edged pull off Milne.

It was Franklin who began the turnaround when he had Kohli lofting his second delivery to wide long-off. New Zealand also had McCullum to thank, for lifting them from 2 for 2 with a calculated 91 that highlighted his importance to his side, especially in Twenty20s. McCullum had support from Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor, but he was almost single-handedly responsible for New Zealand reaching a competitive score with a knock that began watchfully, and then exploded into a frenzy of powerful hits over extra cover, down the ground and over midwicket.

McCullum often begins a Test innings with a charge down the track and it was probably the two early wickets that made him play with some caution initially. Rob Nicol and Martin Guptill came out swinging but were bowled by incoming deliveries from Zaheer Khan and Irfan Pathan.

McCullum broke free in the fifth over, flicking and cutting Zaheer for boundaries. L Balaji, making his T20I debut and playing his first game for India since February 2009, was inside-edged past short fine leg and sliced over point for boundaries in the next over.

Williamson, a calm man under pressure usually, ensured he gave the strike to McCullum, who was now in control enough to ward off his usual self-destructing tendencies.

Sweeps, reverse-sweeps and scoops were kept away. The one time he tried a reverse-sweep, on 38, he got away with a close lbw shout against R Ashwin, with the umpire ruling there was an inside edge when replays indicated there wasn't any. McCullum's one good innings during the Test series against India was ended when the umpire did not spot an inside edge. It was his turn to benefit today.

McCullum went after Ashwin, lofting him over extra cover for boundaries and down the ground for sixes. Ashwin, the lone spinner playing ahead of the recalled Harbhajan Singh, went for 34 in three overs.

McCullum was only nine short of what would have been his second T20I hundred when he was eventually bowled after missing a sweep off a slow cutter from Irfan in the 17th over. Taylor and Oram were around to take New Zealand to a respectable score.

India rode on Kohli's brilliance in the chase, bottled up for a while after he fell, and when they tried to catch up, it was too late.

Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on September 14, 2012, 14:17 GMT

    dhoni is the blunderer who again & again use to wash away the hard work of other players like kohli & tries to become hero everytime by ensuring last over finish.

  • Dr Sarin on September 14, 2012, 10:47 GMT

    It was a good game of cricket but the results could have been different if Ind could have accelerated their scoring rates and could have relied on taking quick two & three's rather than going for big hits which never really got connected.But this could be a good eye opener for Indian team before going for a big event like 20/20 world cup. I don't think with this loss India have lost an edge over other opponents. Cricket is really a funny game and we can expect something big from our team...goodluck India for the tournament

  • Dummy4 on September 13, 2012, 18:05 GMT

    loool India cannot even beat a weak team like New Zealand at their own ground just shows that nobody is rated high to win World T20.

  • Sharky on September 13, 2012, 9:22 GMT

    Congratulations New Zealand on the win and well done India and New Zealand for playing such an entertaining match. It's matches like these that makes T20 worth watching.

  • Dummy4 on September 12, 2012, 18:13 GMT

    Pak has been in all ICC major tournamnet finals since WCT20 2007

  • Dummy4 on September 12, 2012, 17:41 GMT

    disappointing to see India lose. captain has to take the blame. Dhoni's miscalculations in T20WC 2009 and 2010 are still fresh in memory. u cant just hope to come out hitting in last few balls. thankfully, Ravindra Jadeja seems to be out of the equation. hope Dhoni 'fires' well in T20WC12 ....much more smart and tactical plays required pls !!

  • Pavan on September 12, 2012, 16:46 GMT

    Though India lose but Yuvi wins.

  • Shiv on September 12, 2012, 16:31 GMT

    All said and done, there is no doubt that an overconfident Dhoni miscalculated his innings and messed up the chase. Whats shocking is that there was nobody to question him. But in a way its good that this happened in a pretty much inconsequential game. There is no doubt about his talent as a finisher, but sincerely hope that Dhoni learns from this and tries to seal the game as early as possible. He cannot afford this in the upcoming T20WC.

  • Sushil on September 12, 2012, 16:15 GMT

    Agreed over confident Dhobi is the reason for loss. May be he was planning to hit a big six to win it again. Well, it doesn't happen all the time and doubt it will even happen. Again.Look at this way, he always grab the headlines i.e.WC2011 (hitting cup winning 6, but all the hard work was done by Gauti who made almost 100 and gave him that platform - no one talks about Gauti's hard fought inning), in last NZ test match he hit the match WINNING 6, was no need to do that...BUT need was to show-up big. Hopefully in T20 WC he doesn't do all this and play fair game.I am sure his puppets/chamchas (Raina, Aswin, Yuvi, no-Hit (Rohit)) will make him look good again as in everyg game someone will click..Poor Bhajji won't get a game neither Irfan nor Manoj has a chance (may be Irfan will get a game if players support him). Thanks god Jadeja and Utthapa (long-term chamchas of Dhoni) are NOT in team.This is probably last time Dhobi is captain and spreading all politics in the team.Chakde INDIA.

  • Wiqar on September 12, 2012, 16:07 GMT

    I dont know why do people care so much about wining or losing; it was the game and the fight; both teams played awesome; you might not have enjoyed it if India had won by 50 runs; what I only cared about and watched the game was because Yuvraj! that was the most beautiful innings I have ever seen! I dont understand why people neglect the most important things in a match and always whine about the margin of defeat? When battles are fought this close you dont blame captains or players; It was a great show; thats what really matters!

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