Although Kohli cracked 65 (42b, 8×4, 1×6), his 18th half-century in this format and second against the Kiwis, it was an ardous task for him after India lost openers Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma, the architect of the home side’s previous victory in the first encounter, rather cheaply early in the innings.
The hopes of an Indian batting revival faded futher once Shreyas Iyer 23 (21b, 4×4) was sent back to the pavilion, caught and bowled by Colin Munro after the ball soared high into the sky and the bowler ran to his right to take a welljudged catch at mid-on. The hosts were precariously placed at 67 for four at this stage. The hard-hitting Hardik Pandya then fell without a fight.
It was once again left to the present and former captains, Kohli and Mahedra Singh Dhoni 49 (37b, 2×4, 3×6), to bail the home side out of trouble. However, it was an uphill task. The home side could manage just 156 for seven with the Black Caps eventually winning the game by 40 runs to level the series. The decider will be played in Thiruvanthapuram on Tuesday.
Speedster Trent Boult was the most successful Kiwi bowler with outstanding figures of 4-0-34-4.
Earlier, New Zealand made full use of the conditions to post 196 for two. Desperately needing a victory here to stay alive in the series, the visitors opted to bat on a pitch completely devoid of grass.
The Kiwi top-order clicked with openers Martin Guptill and Munro putting on 105 runs.
Munro, who smashed a brilliant century , his second in T20I, remained unbeaten on 109 off just 58 balls, a knock which had seven sixes and an equal number of boundaries.
Guptill was more severe of the two on Indian bowlers, especially Yuzvendra Chahal, hitting him for two mighty sixes and a boundary in the leg-spinner’s first over. However, the righthander fell to the guile of Chahal after slamming 45 (41b, 3×4, 3×6) -in almost a similar fashion as in the first tie at the Kotla -giving a simple catch to Pandya.
Mohammed Siraj, who made his international debut, scalped the prized-wicket of Kane Williamson. However, Siraj conceded 26 in his first two overs with 16 runs coming in his second as Munro punished him with two mighty sixes over long-on and then another over the mid-wicket fence.
Source : timesofindia