Gritty In­dia fail to cross fin­ish line

THIRD T20 Munro-pow­ered NZ rack up 212 be­fore vis­i­tors fall short by four runs in the de­cider to lose three-game se­ries 2-1

Hindustan Times (Amritsar) - - Sport - Agence France-Presse sports­[email protected]­dus­tan­ ■

HAMIL­TON: Colin Munro’s ex­plo­sive 72 set up a four-run win for New Zealand over In­dia in a cliff-hanger fin­ish to Sun­day’s Twenty20 match in Hamil­ton, hand­ing the hosts a 2-1 se­ries vic­tory.

In­dia looked to be on the ropes when they needed 47 off the last three overs.

But Di­nesh Karthik and Krunal Pandya to­gether plun­dered 32 off overs 18 and 19 be­fore Tim Southee restricted the duo to 11 in the 20th.

“It was ob­vi­ously touch-and-go there for us,” said Munro whose whirl­wind knock at the start of the match laid the plat­form for New Zealand’s 212 for four with In­dia 208 for six at the close.

The morale-boost­ing vic­tory for New Zealand gave cap­tain Kane Wil­liamson some­thing to smile about af­ter they were whipped 4-1 by In­dia in the ear­lier one-day in­ter­na­tional se­ries.

“It came down to the last cou­ple of balls and it’s nice to come out on the right side,” he said.


It was a more som­bre mood in the In­dia dress­ing af­ter Ro­hit Sharma had won the toss and de­fied con­ven­tion by not bat­ting first in a se­ries de­cider, say­ing his team pre­ferred to chase re­gard­less.

“It was pretty dis­ap­point­ing to not get over that fin­ish­ing line but I thought we fought re­ally well till the end,” he said.

“We started off re­ally well with the ODI se­ries and we wanted to do well here with the T20.”

It was a vi­tal knock from Munro, whose po­si­tion in the New Zealand side ahead of the World Cup had been in ques­tion af­ter a string of fail­ures in the ODI and Twenty20 matches against In­dia.

But he was on song from the start of the de­cider, charg­ing down the track to smack Bhu­vnesh­war Ku­mar over the rope with the first ball he faced to kick off a fly­ing part­ner­ship with Tim Seifert.

The pair raced to 80 in the eighth over when the light­ning hands of MS Dhoni had Seifert stumped by a hair’s breadth for 43.

Munro’s belligerence saw him face just 40 balls in his in­nings, flaying the bowl­ing with five fours and five sixes. He was re­moved by Kuldeep Ya­dav when he skied a ball to Hardik Pandya run­ning in from long-on.

Kane Wil­liamson (27) fell in the next over when he pulled a ris­ing de­liv­ery from left-arm

pace bowler Khaleel Ahmed to Ya­dav at fine leg.

Colin de Grand­homme chimed in with 30 off 16 to en­sure New Zealand passed the crit­i­cal 200 mark for the sec­ond time in the se­ries.


Vi­jay Shankar took an equally ag­gres­sive stance at the start of In­dia’s chase and the vis­i­tors were up at the re­quired run rate through the first half of their in­nings, but were un­able to es­tab­lish part­ner­ships.

Rishabh Pant belted a four and two sixes with his first three scor­ing shots and raced to 28 off

12 be­fore he be­came debu­tant Blair Tick­ner’s first vic­tim, swip­ing at a full toss that was caught at mid-wicket.

Sharma made 38, Hardik Pandya’s brief cameo pro­duced 21 while Ma­hen­dra Singh Dhoni, feted as the master fin­isher, could only make two in a brief stay at the crease.

With the game slip­ping away from In­dia, Din­ish Karthik pounded the bound­aries with 33 off 16 de­liv­er­ies while Krunal Pandya made 26 off 13 but they ended up four runs short.

New Zealand next host Bangladesh in a se­ries of three ODIs and three Tests.



■ Colin Munro hit five sixes and five fours dur­ing his 72-run knock on Sun­day.

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