Auckland: Rohit Sharma hit a 29-ball fifty setting up India’s chase of 159 against New Zealand in the 2nd T20I as the visitors claimed a seven-wicket wicket victory at Eden Park, Auckland on Friday to level the three-match series 1-1
After Indian bowlers did well to restrict NZ in the death overs, skipper Rohit and Shikhar Dhawan started on a positive note, taking 50 runs in the Powerplay overs with Rohit racing to 31 off just 19 balls with the help of three fours and two sixes - the second of which was his 100th in T20Is making him the first Indian player to hit a century of sixes in the format.
With his third six of the match, in the eighth over bowled by Ish Sodhi, Rohit went past Martin Guptill’s T20I runs tally of 2272 to becomes the highest run-getter in T20Is. But Sodhi had the last laugh when Rohit -after completing his 16th T20I fifty – was holed out in the deep in the deep in the 10th over.
An over later, Dhawan who had made 30 off 31, was bounced out by a Lockie Ferguson bullet. One down Rishabh Pant started off with a four towards extra cover off Ferguson, but India lost another wicket in Vijay Shankar -- not before hitting a four and a six – taken by Daryl Mitchell.
MS Dhoni (20*) and Pant (40*) then knocked off the remaining runs with ease to lead India home with seven balls remaining. For NZ Sodhi, Ferguson and Mitchell claimed one wicket each.
Earlier, all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme's brilliant half-century and Ross Taylor's disciplined innings helped New Zealand post 158/8.
Losing four wickets for just 50 runs in 7.5 overs, Taylor and Grandhomme forged a crucial 77-run partnership for the sixth wicket and helped their team post a good total.
Opting to bat, New Zealand started the proceedings cautiously but in the third over, Bhuvneshwar Kumar picked up Tim Seifert (12), who was the man of the match in the first T20I on Wednesday.
Colin Munro (12) and Kane Williamson (20) then joined and started playing shots. While trying to increase the scoring rate, Munro was dismissed by spinner Krunal Pandya in the sixth over. In the same over Krunal dismissed Daryl Mitchell (1).
Now, with the scoreboard reading 43/3, Krunal came in the eighth over and dismissed Kiwis captain. He was adjudged leg before wicket.
Taylor and Grandhomme then joined hands and played sensibly. The duo played some beautifully crafted shots in the process. But just when things seemed good in the middle, Grandhomme was sent packing by all-rounder Hardik Pandya in the 16th over.
Grandhomme played 28 balls and slammed one boundary and four sixes. Unperturbed by the fall of wicket, Taylor kept on playing his shots but lack of support from the lower order batsmen cost him.
In the penultimate over, Taylor got run out by Vijay Shankar. In his 32-ball stay, Taylor hit three boundaries.
For India, Krunal scalped three wickets while Khaleel Ahmed picked up two. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Hardik Pandya gets one wicket each.