India and New Zealand were looking to end their 3-match T20 series with a fiery clash in Napier, but rain washed the flame out as the match ended in a tie via DLS method. India had reached the par score of 75 runs in nine overs during their chase of 161, set by New Zealand, when rain came down.
The first innings started with New Zealand electing to bat bat. Finn Allen had an early departure for the consecutive match after falling to Arshdeep Singh in the second over. However, the Kiwis steadied their batting through partnerships featuring half-centurions Devon Conway and Glenn Phillips, along with Mark Chapman and Daryl Mitchell. India successfully skittled the BlackCaps lower order in devastating fashion, changing the score from 130 for three to bowling out the entire team for 160. Arshdeep Singh and Mohamed Siraj picked up four wickets apiece.
India’s batting innings didn’t last long, as they could only take strike for nine overs before rain ended proceedings. In those nine overs, all the Indian batters hit big shots but were led by captain Hardik Pandya's 30 runs off 18 balls. Tim Southee almost picked up another hat-trick in this match after getting Suryakumar Yadav and Shreyas Iyer off consecutive deliveries. The 75 runs India put up were good enough to tie the match and ensured they clinch the series 1-0.
Suryakumar Yadav was named Player of the Series for his sensational 111* in the second T20I in a series adversely affected by rain.
Former World Cup winner Zaheer Khan spoke about Yadav’s successful knock after the match on Prime Video:
“He’s had a terrific year. He’s been in superb form and that 100 that we saw, 17 deliveries is all that took him to complete his second fifty. He was not even aiming for a hundred but it was just that kind of zone, and he was hitting all around the park. Mr. 360 degrees is making it count now.”
Former New Zealand cricketer and Prime Video commentator Simon Doull too was effusive in his praise for Suryakumar Yadav:
“Sometimes, the late bloomers are good. The guys that come through when they are 26, 27, 28, sometimes they are better players. And they have had to graft, they have had to work harder to get to that age and figure out what goes wrong and what goes right. They actually understand some of the hardships. Some that are given it or earn it too early at 18, 19, 20, they soon peter out.
"Not a lot of them have genuinely long careers, the greats have. When you’ve earned it and been through a few ups and downs and then get an opportunity, you’re just a little battle-hardened. I see that in Suryakumar, he is battle-hardened player and he knows this game inside out now.”
The teams will now engage in a 3-match ODI series starting Friday. Rain hampered play but everyone will be hoping for clear skies and some classic ODI play over the next three matches.