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NEW DELHI: Pacer Trent Boult took four wickets to help New Zealand beat India by 40 runs in the second T20I in Rajkot on Saturday. New Zealand levelled the three-match series 1-1 with the comprehensive victory.
Chasing 197-run target, India were restricted to 156/7 in 20 overs. Boult led the attack with excellent figures of 4-34, with Mitchell Santner, Adam Milne and Ish Sodhi taking a wicket each.
Boult gave New Zealand a perfect start by removing both India openers, Shikhar Dhawan (1) and Rohit Sharma (5), cheaply in the second over of the hosts’ innings. India were 11/2 in 2 overs when Virat Kohli joined Shreyas Iyer in the middle. Kohli and Iyer stabalised the chase with 54 runs stand, before centurion Munro got better of Iyer (23) in the ninth over.
The only substantial partnership after that was between Kohli and MS Dhoni as they put on 56 runs for the fifth wicket. But Kohli’s wicket in the 17th over vertually ended India’s hopes in the match. India skipper scored 65 off 42 balls which included a six and eight fours.
While, Dhoni was the last wicket to fall for India when he became fourth victim of Boult in the final over. Dhoni missed to score his second fifty of T20I career as he got out for 49 which came off 37 balls with the help of three sixes and two fours.
Earlier, opener Munro punished the listless Indian bowling with an unbeaten 109 and powered New Zealand to an imposing 196 for two.
Left-handed Munro used his bat like a sledge-hammer striking seven sixes and as many fours in his 58-ball knock.
The South Africa-born Munro raised a 105-run stand for the first wicket with Martin Guptill who scored 45 off 41 balls, striking three sixes and five fours in the process.
None of the Indian bowlers, barring Jasprit Bumrah in his first spell, could contain the rampaging Munro. The worst sufferer was debutant Mohammed Siraj, who was struck repeatedly for sixes by the southpaw and ended up giving away 53 runs for the lone wicket of rival skipper Kane Williamson.
Spinners Yuzvendra Chahal (1/36) and Axar Patel too failed to stem the run-flow.
Guptill and Munro struck one four each off debutant Siraj in the Hyderabad pace bowler’s first over in international cricket to set the tone early in the innings.
At the other end leggie Yuzvendra Chahal, brought in to bowl the fifth over in place of Kumar, was treated harshly by Guptill who carted him for a couple of sixes over long on. The Black Caps reached 41 without loss after five overs.
Chahal, who had troubled the visitors in the preceding three-game ODI rubber as well as the first T20 game, conceded 17 runs in his first over.
When Siraj was brought back for his second over, he was treated with disdain by Munro as he slammed the bowler for a couple sixes over long on and mid-wicket. The bowler was taken for 16 runs in the eighth over of the innings.
Guptill later danced down the track to smack Chahal over mid-wicket and Munro was almost caught on the boundary line by Kumar in the same over at the end of which the visitors were 83 without loss.
Munro struck Axar Patel for two sixes in successive balls to reach his 50 in 26 balls, besides raising the 100 of the innings in the 11th over before Chahal broke the first wicket stand by having Guptill caught at long off.
Siraj then got his first wicket in international cricket, the prized one of rival skipper Williamson for 12, when the batsman flicked straight to Rohit Sharma at deep mid-wicket to leave the Black Caps at 140 for two in the 15th over.
Munro was also let off on 79 by Chahal off Kumar to remain unconquered.