India secured a nail-biting six-wicket victory over New Zealand in the second T20I match on Sunday in Lucknow, levelling the three-match series 1-1. Knowing that the red-soil pitch at the Ekana Stadium was expected to benefit spinners, India opted to bring in Yuzvendra Chahal for Umran Malik, giving them a total of four spin-bowling options, including Deepak Hooda.
New Zealand also utilized a strong spin attack with five spinners and a total of eight bowlers, however, they were unable to keep the scoring rate under control. India, on the other hand, had the advantage of knowing their target, and they took the game deep, crossing the finish line with just one ball remaining.
The Indian bowlers stuck to the basics, delivering accurate lengths and not giving away any easy deliveries. New Zealand’s batsmen showed no intent, struggling to make progress.
When New Zealand did attempt to break loose, they relied heavily on the reverse sweep, which resulted in the dismissals of three batsmen: Finn Allen (11), Devon Conway (11), and Glenn Phillips (5).
Daryl Mitchell, who had a standout performance in the first match with an unbeaten 59, was caught off guard by a stunning delivery from Kuldeep Yadav. The left-arm wrist spinner bowled from over the wicket and sent a ball that spun viciously, breaching Mitchell’s weak defense and knocking off the off-stump.
India primarily relied on their four spinners, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Deepak Hooda, and Kuldeep, who each took a wicket and kept the run-rate low. Fast bowler Arshdeep Singh was only introduced in the 18th over, but he made an impact by dismissing Ish Sodhi and Lockie Ferguson with bouncers.
India’s pursuit of the target was not easy, as New Zealand utilized only spin bowlers from both ends from the first over till the 18th over. Shubman Gill was dismissed for 11, while Ishan Kishan struggled and was run out for 19 off 32 balls by a fantastic piece of fielding. Tripathi was dismissed soon after, leaving India with 50 for 3 in the 11th over.
Suryakumar and Washington, promoted to No. 5, brought stability to the Indian team, mainly relying on singles and doubles to get the side close to the target before Washington was run out due to a mix-up.
In the end, India needed 13 runs from 12 balls, and despite Hardik finding a boundary, Lockie Ferguson only conceded seven runs in the 19th over. Suryakumar made sure Washington’s sacrifice was not in vain, leading India to a thrilling victory.