|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
McCullum powers Kiwis past India
February 25, 2009 13:32 IST
Last Updated: February 25, 2009 15:52 IST
Put into bat, the tourists recovered from a mid-innings slump thanks to Suresh Raina's fighting unbeaten 61 and posted 162 for eight in the allotted overs. But that proved insufficient as the Kiwis overhauled the target with seven balls to spare.
Brendon McCullam led the Kiwis' charge, hitting three sixes in an unbeaten 56, while Martin Guptill (41), Ross Taylor [Images] (31) and Jacob Oram [Images] (29 not out) came up with useful contributions.
The two sides meet again in the second T20 match in Wellington on Friday before playing each other in five one-day internationals and three Tests.
Martin Guptill also could have been back in the hut off the very next ball, but Kiwi umpire Evan Watkin was not impressed with Ishant's appeal.
Guptill, who replaced Ryder at the wicket, offered no shot to one that came back in and could have castled his stumps, but Watkin thought otherwise. Television replays also showed that the ball would have knocked off-stump.
The hosts then moved steadily towards the target, as Guptill and McCullum batted smartly, avoiding risks and putting bad balls to the fence.
The Black Caps crossed the 50-run mark without further loss.
Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh [Images], making a comeback to the team, provided India a breakthrough when he trapped the well-set Guptill, who had hit four fours and three sixes in a 54-run stand with McCullum.
But Ross Taylor and McCullum were unfazed and carted the Indian bowlers all around the park.
Taylor hit Yusuf Pathan [Images] for two sixes and one four in the 12th over to bring up New Zealand's 100.
Indian pacer Zaheer Khan [Images] raised Indian hopes when he dismissed Taylor (31), but McCullum and Jacob Oram batted smartly to see the Kiwis home easily.
Put in to bat, India got off to a flying start, Virender Sehwag [Images] clobbering three sixes in the first over, but lost the script thereafter and found themselves precariously placed at 61 for five.
A late onslaught by Raina and Harbhajan Singh (21) not only pulled the team out of the tight corner but also enabled India put up a competitive score.
The duo put on 61 runs for the eighth wicket.
New Zealand now needs to score at 8.15 runs per over to overhaul India's total and take 1-0 lead in the two-match T20 series.
The visitors made their intentions clear early as Sehwag went on the offensive, mercilessly hitting Tim Southee [Images] for three sixes -- all on the leg-side � off the first three balls he faced, giving India 19 runs from the first over.
Gautam Gambhir [Images] opened up with a furious cover drive off Iain O'Brian but missed the next one, which uprooted his middle stump.
But his exit had no impact on Sehwag, who lofted Ian Butler over long-off for his fourth six.
However, Brien began the Indian slide, castling Gambhir (6) and Sehwag in successive overs, leaving the innings in tatters.
It took some lusty hitting from Raina, who hit five sixes and two fours, and Yusuf Pathan, who made 20, inclusive of three sixes, to haul India back into the game.
But an astounding catch by Jacob Oram on the ropes at wide long on cut what could have been an entertaining innings by Yusuf.
Yusuf struck three successive sixes off Nathan McCullum in the tenth over when an attempted fourth six, which seemed to sail over the ropes, was plucked out of the air by the gangling Oram.
Sensing that he would step over the ropes, he popped the ball into play, went over the ropes while pushing the ball into field and in a jiffy stepped back into the playing area to complete the catch.
Yusuf couldn't believe his eyes, but Oram, celebrated his return to international cricket with a stunner that raised the bar of New Zealand's fielding, regarded the best in world cricket.
At 82 for six India were in deep trouble, but Raina, who struck five towering sixes with ease, found allies in Irfan Pathan [Images] (12) and Harbhajan Singh.
Brien and and Ian Butler claimed two wickets apiece. Daniel Vettori [Images], regarded the best left arm spinner in international cricket, did a marvelous job with the ball, conceding a mere 18 runs in four overs.