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Kiwi Knights set up thrilling T20I series-decider

A memorable show from Knights Colin Munro and Trent Boult powered New Zealand to a 40-run victory over India in the 2ND T20I at Rajkot on Saturday (4th November, 2017). The three-match series is level at 1-1, with the decider to be played at Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday (7th November, 2017).

 

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson won the toss and opted to bat. Team India had a debutant in Mohammad Siraj, who came into the playing eleven in place of the retired Ashish Nehra.

 

Martin Guptill and Colin Munro gave the visitors the perfect start. The openers played sensible cricketing shots till the power-play, avoiding any unnecessary risk. New Zealand were 48/0  after six overs. After setting the tone for the game, Munro took center stage with some stunning strokeplay, while Guptill played the support role to perfection.

 

The 105-run opening partnership from 11 overs brought some headaches in the Indian camp. Things were going smoothly for the visitors, until Yuzvendra Chahal provided the hosts with the breakthrough dismissing of Guptill (45).

 

Williamson (12) had a short stay in the middle as Siraj picked up his maiden international scalp. These two quick wickets didn't affect Munro's scoring rate as he continued to take the Indian bowlers to the cleaners. Runs were coming thick and fast for the southpaw, who later went on to slam his 2nd T20I ton (109*) in just 54 balls. He also became the first batsman to score two T20I tons in a single year, having scored a hundred against Bangladesh at home earlier in 2017.

 

Tom Bruce (18*) played his part well by rotating the strike & letting Munro continue his brand of cricket. At one stage, 225-230 was on the cards but the duo of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah pegged up the visitors back with a superb bowling display in the death overs, once again. Despite that, New Zealand’s score of 196/2 was a humongous score on a big ground.

 

In reply to New Zealand's assault, Rohit Sharma (5) and Shikhar Dhawan (1) did not last long as Trent Boult struck a double-blow.

Finally the debutant from the last match, Shreyas Iyer got his opportunity to showcase his batting skills. The pair of Shreyas Iyer and  Kohli began the rebuilding work.

Munro wasn't done yet as he made the day even more special by getting the dangerous looking Iyer for 23 caught and bowled.

 

Hardik Pandya (1), who generally plays spin well, failed to pick Ish Sodhi's googly and with this the of low scores continued for the all-rounder.

While Kohli went on to notch up his 18th T20I fifty in 32 balls, the pressure of the mounting asking rate brought about his downfall for 65.

 

With this India's hope of chasing down the target was all but over. Though MS Dhoni hit some big blows in the end, it was a case off all too little, too late.

Boult came back and made it a memorable outing for himself, finishing with figures of 4/34 adding Axar Patel (5) and Dhoni’s (49) wickets to his tally.

 

The hosts ended their innings, 40 runs short at 156/7/