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September 12, 2012
When Yuvraj Singh and Virat Kohli were warming up to the chase of 168 in Chennai, with a couple of sixes in the 13th over, it looked as though New Zealand's tour would end the way it had panned out so far: winless. India required 49 runs from the last seven overs, but that was before James Franklin came in to bowl.
He immediately dismissed Kohli for 70, which looked like a minor blip in the chase, but after a couple of tight overs from him and Jacob Oram, India's required run rate jumped to 10.66. They fell short by one run in the end.
"[It was a] topsy-turvy game," Franklin said. "With probably six-seven overs to go, it was very much India's game, and they were steamrolling towards the win. But, as we know, the nature of Twenty20 can change very quickly in a matter of one or two overs, and that certainly happened tonight and we were able to close out the game."
Franklin bowled the final over, with India needing 13 to win. Yuvraj was dismissed with three balls to go and only 11 runs were scored. It was Franklin's most expensive over; he had stifled India's scoring in his other three and ended with figures of 2 for 26. Franklin said they bowled a number of slower balls to make scoring difficult.
"Most of the good batsmen out in the middle struggled with the ball not coming on in terms of lack of pace. We had to use cross seamers and take the pace off the ball. Obviously that worked for us in the back end of the innings."
For any chance of winning though, New Zealand needed a total big enough to defend against an accomplished Indian batting line-up. That they did through a commanding 91 off 55 balls from Brendon McCullum. Franklin said New Zealand were surprised with India's decision to field first.
"[The toss] certainly raised a few eyebrows. A few of our players have played IPL over here and Chennai's famous for being a batters' first wicket, but they'll have their reasons for doing that. We were always going to bat first and try and put a total on the board, which we did thankfully [as] Brendon McCullum put on a great performance with a 91. It was up to our bowlers to defend it, which we did."
The win was among New Zealand's few positive results in recent months, after they lost the limited-overs legs and the Test series against West Indies before being beaten by India in the Tests in Hyderabad and Bangalore.
"It's nice to win games; been a long few weeks for us, obviously losing the Test series 2-0 and the rain in [Visakhapatnam] didn't help matters but it's always nice to win tight games like that," Franklin said.
New Zealand will head to Sri Lanka to play two warm-up matches in Colombo against Australia and South Africa before the World Twenty20.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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