New Zealand 160 (Conway 59, Phillips 54, Siraj 4-17, Arshdeep 4-37) tied with India 75 for 4 (Pandya 30*, Southee 2-27) via DLS method
The Conway-Phillips show
Conway and Phillips got together in the last over of the powerplay after New Zealand opted to bat first after toss was delayed by half an hour. Bhuvneshwar Kumar had extracted prodigious movement with the new ball but it was Arshdeep’s inswing that had Finn Allen trapped lbw. Mark Chapman looked to up the ante but fell when he tried to take on Siraj.
Conway had just gotten himself going when he hit a six sandwiched between two fours off Arshdeep’s second over in the powerplay. He then used Bhuvneshwar’s pace to tonk a massive six over deep midwicket. From 2 from 11 balls, he had suddenly raced to 23 off 17 at the six-over mark. He then hit two more fours in Yuzvendra Chahal’s first two overs to get a measure of the surface.
Phillips, too, took a bit of time to get himself in. Two of his first three fours had come via edges – first, when he inside-edged a Harshal Patel delivery between his legs and then when he was rooted to the crease and outside-edged a Siraj ball after being beaten for pace. But he announced his arrival when he struck successive boundaries off Chahal. He first powered a quicker one through cover before a generously flighted ball from the legspinner was deposited in the roof of the stands at cow corner.
Phillips’ pyrotechnics saw him bring up his eighth T20I half-century. In the interim, Conway also notched up his fifty. At 2 for 130 with over four overs left, New Zealand seemed to have set sights at a 180-plus score at McLean Park, where the square boundaries were quite short.
Siraj – too hot to handle
Siraj was brought on to bowl at a crucial stage, not once but twice. New Zealand had just scored 33 in the previous two overs when he came on to close the powerplay. Chapman had changed the tempo with his attacking start which rubbed off on Conway. The hosts were 44 for 1 when a short-of-length ball from Siraj made Chapman sky an attempted flick, only for Arshdeep to take a well-judged catch after running to his right from mid-on.
Conway and Phillips were then amidst an 86-run partnership with New Zealand aiming for a tall finish. Runs were coming thick and fast. What do India do? Call Siraj, maybe?
He used a high-paced bumper to have Phillips caught on the pull before hitting the hard length again to have James Neesham top-edge a cross-batted heave. He then took pace off his short ball to have Mitchell Santner slice one to covers. He gave away just two fours in his spell – one of which was via Phillips’ outside edge after he was beaten for pace.
That was not all. In the penultimate over, Siraj was stationed at backward point and he nailed a direct hit at the bowler’s end to run Adam Milne out. He truly had a field day.
Arshdeep puts his hand up, again
After conceding just one and dismissing Allen in his opening over, Arshdeep was carted for 19 in his next. Conway and Daryl Mitchell struck a four apiece in his third over, the first at the death (overs 16 to 20). But with a clever change of pace, he had Conway hole out to deep midwicket for 59.
In his next over, he cranked up the pace to take Mitchell, who gloved an attempted pull, by surprise. Arshdeep then resorted to his favoured weapon at the death, the yorker, to castle Ish Sodhi, who was on the back foot anticipating a bouncer.
“SKY” Pandya to the rescue
India’s chase began with Ishan Kishan slapping Tim Southee, who stood in for Kane Williamson, over point in the opening over. He then pulled a short ball from Adam Milne before Chapman caught him out on the edge of the deep-midwicket boundary. Rishabh Pant then struck a couple of fours before he was dismissed by Southee.
When Southee bounced Shreyas Iyer out first ball, India were 3 for 21 inside three overs and in tatters.
But Suryakumar Yadav and Pandya continued to attack their way out of trouble. They added 39 inside four overs to bring India back into the contest. Pandya opened the six count for India with a disdainful pull before Suryakumar played an extended extra-cover drive to emulate the result.
However, the introduction of spin saw India slow down, with Sodhi managing to prise Suryakumar out. Hooda and Pandya then played out a couple of overs before the match was called off.
S Sudarshanan is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo
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