The Northland Age
Top T20 batter takes over
Breakout star Suryakumar Yadav blasted his second Twenty20 century from 49 balls on Sunday night to propel India to a 65-run win over New Zealand in the second T20 international and take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
Suryakumar finished 111 not out as India made 191-6 batting first in damp conditions. He hit seven sixes and 11 fours in a brilliant display of improvisational and conventional ball-striking that underlined his ranking as the world’s best T20 batsman.
Suryakumar reached his half century from 32 balls, then added his second 50 from only 17 deliveries as he took apart the New Zealand attack at the Bay Oval.
New Zealand gained some consolation when Tim Southee claimed a last-over hat-trick, his second in T20 internationals and the fourth by a New Zealander. Southee dismissed Hardik Pandya, Deepak
Hooda and Washington Sundar with the third, fourth and fifth balls of the last over to leave Suryakumar stranded at the non-striker’s end and to hold India under 200.
“I think the plan was very clear when I went in to bat, that I had to bat to the end to get to a par score of 170 or 175,” Suryakumar said. “I feel in this format you have to have good intent when you go in to bat, regardless of the situation.”
“It was not our best effort,” New Zealand captain Kane Williamson said.
“Having said that, Suryakumar was out of this world, one of the best knocks I’ve ever seen and some of those shots I’ve never seen.”
New Zealand’s chase suffered an early setback when hard-hitting opener Finn Allen was out to only the second ball of the innings. They never really recovered and were all out for 126 with seven balls remaining.
The first match of the series was washed out and the third will be played tonight in Napier.