Colin Munro’s blazing half-century and Tim Southee’s last over to defend 15 runs helped New Zealand seal the T20I series 2-1 with a four-run victory in the decider at Seddon Park. The defeat also meant India faced their first series loss on their long tour of Southern Hemisphere.
Chasing 213, India needed a steep 68 off 28 at one stage with only four wickets in hand. Lusty and regular blows from Dinesh Karthik and Krunal Pandya, with a six each off Daryl Mitchell and debutant Blair Tickner off successive overs made the equation 48 from 18. Krunal then smashed Southee for a six and two fours off successive balls that meant India needed 30 from 12. The duo went on to hit a six each in the penultimate over by Scott Kuggeleijn to bring the equation down to 16 required off the final over.
Karthik took two off the first ball but then consumed a dot ball and even refused Krunal strike after hitting the ball to long-on. With 14 needed off four balls and the pressure mounting on Karthik, he only managed a single on the next ball. Southee’s lengths conceded only a single to Krunal too, and a six from Karthik on the last ball was not enough for India.
After being put in, Munro’s 40-ball 72 and Tim Seifert’s 43 off 25 set the platform for a daunting total. While India dismissed Munro and Kane Williamson in back-to-back overs, New Zealand had by then motored to 150 in 14.4 overs. Colin de Grandhomme ensured the hosts didn’t lose the momentum with a stroke-filled 16-ball 30, with Mitchell and Ross Taylor applying the finishing touches.
Kane Williamson on… Colin Munro’s 72: Obviously, Colin is one of those guys that goes out and plays with that freedom and looks to take the game away and we’ve seen that, I suppose, for a long time in the shortest format and I suppose everybody’s going out trying to do their bit and play their role.—Agencies