New Zealand skipper Tim Southee admitted that India managed to slow them down in the middle overs especially Rohit Sharma handed the ball to his spinning duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel. The duo gave away just 64 runs from 7 to 16 overs with Ashwin (1/19) and Axar (1/26) dominating the New Zealand batters in the dew-laden condition. “Credit to India, they pulled it back nicely after the first six overs. They played better cricket and didn’t give us a chance with the bat as well,” he said.
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New Zealand never really quite recovered from this middle over stutter as they bowled badly as well, failing to take the wickets of KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma as the openers ran away with a hundred run stand for the first wicket. This was their fourth consecutive stand between the openers. Southee reflected on how the dew might have played a part in it. “It was wet for both teams and it was only slightly more in the second innings. We knew dew would be a factor, but India were too good on this day. We will now go to a new venue, a quick turnaround, and we’ll assess when we get to Kolkata.”
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The Kiwis were off to a flier in the powerplay with Guptill smashing his way to a 15-ball 31 (2x6s, 3x4s) after being dropped on eight. That innings saw Guptill (3231 runs) surpass star Indian batsman Virat Kohli (3227) as the leading run-getter in T20 Internationals.
Guptill smashed Bhuvenshwar for back-to-back boundaries but there was an opportunity in the fourth ball when he mishit over the long-off region. KL Rahul made a terrific attempt running backwards and nearly got hold of the ball before it slipped out of his hands.
After conceding 14 runs in his first over, Bhuvneshwar gave away 13 in his next over with Guptill smacking him over his head for a six. Mitchell also joined the party as the visitors cruised to 42 from the first overs. Deepak Chahar finally gave India the breakthrough before the spin duo of Axar and Ashwin restricted the flow of runs.
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