India Vs New Zealand Cricket T20: Kiwis Win A Thriller By One Run, Yuvraj Singh Wins Hearts By Millions!
|Brendon McCullum Blazing Away!|
Finally in Chennai the rain gods had mercy and play began dot on time. Indian skipper Dhoni won the toss and perhaps to use the conditions and some little grass on the pitch invited New Zealand to bat first. As anticipated by Dhoni the Kiwis started badly losing the openers for just two runs on the board. Zaheer Khan and Irfan Pathan shared the two wickets. Star Kiwi keeper-batsman Brendon McCullum took charge and made a hurricane 91 off just 55 balls. Kane Williamson (28) gave him able company and the pair added 90 runs for the third wicket. Skipper Ross Taylor played a cameo of 25 and New Zealand managed to reach a somewhat healthy score of 167/5 in allotted 20 overs. Pathan took 3 wickets for 31 runs in 4 overs. For India the target of 168 was neither here nor there meaning it could be easy meat or could get very risky.
As Virender Sehwag was declared unfit Virat Kohli opened the Indian chase with Gautam Gambhir. Kohli was in an aggressive mood from the word go and despite losing Gambhir early he kept the momentum going. Suresh Raina (27 off 22) joined him and took the score from 26/1 to 86/2.
|Yuvraj Singh Winning Hearts!|
And then walked in Yuvraj Singh in his customary No.4 position and provided the most sought after sight for his fans and cricket lover all over. Settling in he made his first boundary, a tricky shot past the slips, off Milne and two balls later he was dropped of the same bowler. Next over by Vettori and Yuvraj was back in his original glory using his crease and lofting the ball tossed up outside his off stump to over long on boundary—a Yuvi six that always makes his fans go wild with joy. A mini crisis next over as Kohli fell to Franklin after making 70 off just 41 balls, but at 120/3 in the fourteenth over it looked immensely attainable for India needing just 48 runs in 40 balls with 7 wickets remaining.
Skipper Dhoni joined Yuvraj and smart slow-pace bowling by the Kiwis made run-scoring difficult for India. New Zealand roared back into the match when India needed 32 runs from the last three overs. Then stiff 25 runs from 2 overs when Yuvraj hit his second six to make things a little easier. Finally 13 runs to win in the last over. First ball—Yuvraj takes a single; second ball Dhoni hits a four and third ball a wide that makes it 7 to win from 4. Dhoni takes a single off the third making it 6 from 3. The biggest blow in the fourth ball as Yuvraj (34 off 26) gets bowled by Franklin to make it 6 from 2. In comes the hopelessly out of form batsman Rohit Sharma ahead of hitters like Pathan and Tiwary and still manages to take a couple to make it the classic situation of requiring a four to win in the last ball. But Rohit fails to clear the boundary and again manages only 2 and New Zealand wins a thriller by 1 run, winning the T20I Series 1-0. Brendon McCullum was both the man of the match and of the Series. And, in T20 Internationals New Zealand makes it 4 out of 4 wins against India. Harbhajan Singh making a comeback after more than a year was not selected with Ashwin getting the nod and Balaji coming back after 3 years made his debut in T20 Internationals. Of course, Balaji has been a veteran in IPL T20 cricket.
It proved to be a glorious cricket match. New Zealand the most deserving winners. Yuvraj Singh making a comeback and winning hands down. For India perhaps Dhoni (22 runs off 23 balls) was a bit slow and he seemed to depend too much on taking quick singles which was a wrong tactic considering the obviously slow reflexes of Yuvraj coming back to cricket after nearly a year. Dhoni acknowledged that India should have won the match after Kohli and Yuvraj, but in the same breath also blamed the pitch as going slower in the second half. The Scorecard:
Anyway, much more to come with the warm up matches of the ICC World Cup T20 in Sri Lanka starting from 13th September. The scheduled warm-up encounter between India and Pakistan on 17th September has already got the attention of the cricket lovers and the advertisers. More cricket and more of Yuvraj Singh coming your way! Cheers!