India vs New Zealand 2017, 2nd T20I: India reprieving Colin Munro thrice is SK Turning Point of the match
Facing the prospect of a must-win encounter to keep their chances in the series alive, New Zealand won a handy toss and chose to bat first on a placid track at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot.
India made matters worse for themselves by letting off the hard-hitting Colin Munro not once but thrice to effectively put an end to their own fortunes in this game. The opener smashed his second T20I century to propel his team to a formidable total. The Blackcaps delivered a collectively solid performance with the ball and sauntered to a series-levelling 40-run victory.
Let us take a look at how India shot themselves in their own foot by reprieving the game-changing Munro on three different occasions.
Kiwi openers begin strongly
Replacing the recently retired Ashish Nehra with Mohammed Siraj, India handed a debut to the promising 23-year old fast bowler. However, the debutant had a day to forget as New Zealand openers came after him in a relentless manner. His first over went for ten runs and skipper Virat Kohli promptly removed the right-armer from the attack in order to protect him from the vagaries of the Power Play.
Even though Bhuvneshwar Kumar had sent down a couple of tidy overs, Kohli looked to save him for the death overs and introduced Yuzvendra Chahal into the equation. Martin Guptill hammered the leg-spinner for two sixes and one four in three successive deliveries. Meanwhile, at the other end, Jasprit Bumrah showed his class by doing his best to stem from the lavish leakage of runs.
India reprieve Munro on three occasions
Munro continued to be quite severe on Siraj who was struggling to find his rhythm. India had a chance to see the back of the left-hander when he smashed a length ball from Axar Patel towards the vicinity of the long-on fielder. Much to the crowd's dismay, Shreyas Iyer not only shelled the catch but also parried the ball over the boundary for a maximum.
Chahal bounced back by dismissing the dangerous Guptill with a well-flighted delivery. The hosts could have had the wicket of Munro in the same over. The opener and captain Kane Williamson were embroiled in a potentially catastrophic case of miscommunication while running between the wickets. But Rohit Sharma unfurled a poor throw and a sprawling MS Dhoni found it difficult to gather the ball in time and make contact with the stumps.
Munro made the Indians pay for their fielding lapses by launching a barrage of boundaries. He was third time lucky as well when Chahal dropped a straightforward high catch off Bhuvneshwar's bowling. By the time he reached 80, the dashing stroke-maker had given the opposition three chances and yet found himself at the crease unfettered.
Munro ton takes New Zealand to daunting total
As the death overs loomed, the visitors were primed for one final blitz to psychologically dent the Indians. Munro plundered Bhuvneshwar and Siraj for a slew of boundaries to keep the scorecard skyrocketing on a regular basis. He soon joined an elite batting club by bringing up his second century in T20Is. Before the Durban-born 30-year old, the likes of Brendon McCullum, Chris Gayle and Evin Lewis all managed to score two tons each in T20 internationals.
Despite a few relatively quiet overs in the latter stage of the innings, New Zealand reached a daunting total of 196 for the loss of just two wickets. Munro remained unbeaten on 109. He came back to haunt India once more by getting the scalp of Shreyas Iyer with his gentle medium pace. The 'Player of the Match' conceded just 23 runs from his spell of three overs to supplement his stellar performance with the bat.
Meanwhile, India's batting lineup faltered under the pressure of a massive chase. Apart from skipper Kohli who scored a fluent half-century, none of the other batsmen could make any sort of impact. Aside from reducing the margin of the home team's defeat, Dhoni's 37-ball 49 did nothing to change the flow of the game. New Zealand completed a clinical victory to set up a mouth-watering series decider at the Greenfield International Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday.