Kiwis claim thriller - The New Indian Express

Kiwis claim thriller

Published: 12th September 2012 11:01 AM

Last Updated: 12th September 2012 11:01 AM

Brendon McCull­­um’s breezy 91 and intelligent bowling by Jacom Oram and James Franklin at the death enabled New Zealand to pull off a thrilling one-run win over India in the 2nd T20 Internati­­o­­nal at Chepauk. With this win, New Zealand won the two-match T20 series 1-0 aft­­er the first match was washed o­ut in Vizag.

When four was required off the last ball for win, Rohit S­­h­­a­rma could muster only a bra­ce to long on off Franklin. Had MS Dhoni taken a couple in­­stead of a single from the th­­ird ball in the final over, Ind­ia st­ood a chance to win the ga­me. The next ball saw Yuvr­­aj (34) being castled by Franklin.

Manoj Tiwary came in for injured Virender Sehwag. Off-sp­inner Harbhajan Singh, wh­­o is making a comeback, was n­ot included for the match.

Chasing 168 for win, India m­­­ade a poor start. The new op­­­ening combo of Gautham Gambhir-Virat Kohli failed to click. After Gambhir was out cheaply, Kohli played positi­­v­­e­ly, straight driving Adam Milne for a boundary. He cut, pu­­lled and drove with pana­c­h­e. His trademark cover drive off Daniel Vettori to the fence was executed with perfecti­­o­n.Kohli stitched useful partnerships with Suresh Raina and Yuvraj to get India past the 100-run mark.

Yuvraj enjoyed a slice of luck but looked compact. Although his strokes lac­­k­ed the usual punch, he made up for it by timing the ball to a nicety. In trying to bring down the asking rate, Kohli (70) holed out in the deep off Franklin. When Dhoni stepped in the eq­­uation read (47 off 39 balls). Dh­­oni for the major part of his sta­y found it difficult to score bo­undaries, as Jacob Oram wa­­s accurate and nagging.

Earlier, New Zealand made 167 for 5, thanks to a brilliant 55-ball 91 by Brendon McCull­­u­m, who did not allow the off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin to settle down. Ashwin went wi­­cketless, conceding 34 runs in four overs.New Zealand made a disast­r­ous start with bo­­th the openers Rob Nicol and Martin Guptill getting out c­h­­eaply. Nicol was castled by a peach of a delivery from Zaheer Khan. Nicol’s intended glide was badly timed as the ball kicked on to the stumps off the batsman’s pads. In the se­­cond over, Irfan Pathan bo­­w­led Guptill through the gate.  McCullum and Kane Willi­­a­mson stemmed the rot with a 90-run stand. Ba­­rring one or two loose deli­­v­eries that Williamson carted to the fence, the Indian bowle­­rs were on target with Zaheer and Irfan firing on all cylinders.

McCullum’s flick off Zaheer for a boundary sent the crowd into raptures. Williamson while playing an adventurous scoop, mistimed and the skier was neatly held by R Ashwin at fine leg with Pathan getting his second wicket.

Yuvraj and Ashwin erred in length and also gave the width to play the shots freely. McCu­llum once carted Yuvraj over the ropes and his 50 came off just 35 balls.

T20 Debut for Balaji

Tamil Nadu’s favourite cricketer Lakshmipathy Balaji ma­­d­e his T20 debut in front of his ho­­me crowd. Two key TN bo­­w­lers Balaji and Ashwin got a ch­­ance to play together in an in­­ternational match at Chepa­uk after a long time. After ma­­k­ing his debut against New Zealand almost a decade ago, Ba­­laji, who has been in and out of the Indian team because of injuries, was given a warm we­­lcome by the fans.

groundsmen deliver

Excellent effort by curator K Parthasarathy and his team of groundsmen meant the match started on time despite heavy showers in the city on Monday evening.

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