Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
New Zealand opener Colin Munro smashed a career-best 109 not out to not only lead his side to a 40-run win over India in Rajkot, but also level the three-match series at 1-1.
Munro made history with his knock as he became the only player in history to score two centuries in the shortest format in the same year.
He also became only the fourth player to bring up two Twenty20 International hundreds. The other players to achieve this feat are ex-New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum and the West Indian duo of Chris Gayle and Evin Lewis.
Choosing to bat first New Zealand got off to a fantastic start as openers Martin Guptill and Munro amassed a 105-run partnership, during which Munro brought up his half-century.
Guptill was on the verge of bringing up his own fifty, but he never reached it as he was caught by Hardik Pandya at long-off off the bowling of Yuzvendra Chahal for 45.
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson only made 12 runs, but the Black Caps still concluded their innings on a high as they finished on 196/2 thanks to Munro and Tom Bruce’s unbeaten 55-run stand, during which Munro registered his century.
Munro ended up making 109 off 58 balls, which included seven boundaries and seven sixes, while Bruce remained undefeated on 18 off 12 deliveries, which included two boundaries.
Chahal and debutant Mohammed Siraj picked up one wicket apiece.
Chasing 197 to win, India found themselves in trouble early on as Trent Boult clean bowled Shikhar Dhawan for one run on the eighth ball of the innings before taking out Rohit Sharma just four balls later.
India captain Virat Kohli and debutant Shreyas Iyer made up for the loss of Dhawan and Rohit with a 54-run partnership before Iyer was caught and bowled by Munro for 23.
Pandya only made one run before being clean bowled by Ish Sodhi, but Kohli and Mahendra Singh Dhoni stabilised the innings with a 56-run partnership before Kohli was caught behind off the bowling of Mitchell Santner for 65, which came off 42 balls and included eight boundaries and a six.
Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
During his knock, Kohli etched his name into the record books as he became the first Indian player and eighth overall to score 7,000 runs in Twenty20 cricket.
Axar Patel fell shortly after, while Dhoni went on to score 49 off 37 deliveries, which included two boundaries and three sixes, before he was removed by Boult in the final over.
With Kohli and Dhoni being the only batsmen to put up a fight, India ended up falling well short of their target as they finished on 156/7 off their 20 overs.
Boult was the most successful bowler with four wickets, while Santner, Sodhi and Munro claimed one wicket each.
Kohli was disappointed to have lost, and said: “I thought New Zealand were really good with the bat early on. We didn’t take our chances, yes, but at once stage they were looking to get 235-240 and credit to Bumrah and Bhuvi to pull things back.
“Eventually we weren’t good enough with the bat. When you’re chasing 200, all the batsmen need to chip in, or one batsman has to keeping going at a 200 strike-rate. Tried to do my best. MS was very good at the end. But we were left with a very difficult task. It happens to a lot of batsmen, sometimes you are in good form, but you don’t get enough balls. We back our batsmen though. We back Hardik, and it’s just a little glitch.
“After 13-14 overs, it gripped a bit. But we have no excuses, we weren’t good enough with the bat. There wasn’t any kind of dew. The ball got scuffed up [to help it turn].”
Williamson was thrilled to have levelled the series at 1-1, and said: “I guess a contrasting performance from the last game. An improved performance on all sides, we need to keep doing this to beat India here and going on to the next game, we need to repeat this.
“Great partnership up top, and obviously Munners getting a hundred was fantastic. When a batsman gets that many runs, the team will always get a big total. Guptill and Bruce gave good support and the bowlers did really well to defend it.
“Whenever you watch a player similar to you perform, you want to emulate them and our two spinners did really well, they consistently came in to bowl tough overs and they bowled very, very well.”
Munro was named Man of the Match, and said: “Felt good tonight. Few chances went my way and that’s T20 cricket. Taken a while, I was here in the [New Zealand] A trip. Felt good with the bat but kept getting out. I love batting at the top of the order, getting the team off to a flyer with Guppy.
“The way I bat is the same every time, whether I’m chasing 200 or 120. Go out there, stay still and try and hit fours and sixes. I was talking with McMillan, and the times when I’ve premeditated is when I’ve been trying to do too much. So I’ve just got to stay still and react to the ball.”