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Spin rules as India level T20 series with tense win

29 Jan 2023

Lucknow, India – Suryakumar Yadav hit an unbeaten 26 as India edged out New Zealand by six wickets in a low-scoring and tense second Twenty20 international, to level the series at 1-1 on Sunday.

India restricted New Zealand, who won the opener of the three-match series, to 99-8 with Yuzvendra Chahal leading the spin-charge on a slow and turning pitch in Lucknow.

India then lost regular wickets as the Kiwi bowlers took it into the final over but Suryakumar, along with Hardik Pandya, anchored the tricky run chase to achieve the target with one ball to spare.

The match witnessed 30 overs of spin without a six being hit in either innings.

The series moves on to the decider in Ahmedabad on Wednesday.

Chahal, a leg-spinner who came in as the only change in the team from the opening loss, bowled the fourth over of the innings and started with a wicket maiden.

He bowled just two overs for four runs and a wicket but it set the tone for his fellow bowlers, with left-arm quick Arshdeep Singh taking two.

New Zealand opener Finn Allen attempted to take on the Indian bowling with two straight boundaries in the third over after they elected to bat first, but was bowled by Chahal as he tried a reverse sweep.

The reverse sweep also proved to be the undoing of the next two batsmen, with Devon Conway caught behind off Washington Sundar and then Glenn Phillips bowled by Deepak Hooda.

New Zealand were in trouble when previous-match hero Daryl Mitchell was bowled by left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav, and slipped to 62-5 after a mid-pitch mix-up got Mark Chapman run out for 14.

Wickets kept tumbling and Arshdeep struck twice in one over to get into the New Zealand tail.

Skipper Mitchell Santner made an unbeaten 19 but could not help New Zealand avoid their lowest T20 score against India.

In reply, India lost Shubman Gill after the opener hit two boundaries but fell to Michael Bracewell’s off-spin. He made 11.

Ishan Kishan was run out for 19 and the hosts looked in trouble when leg-spinner Ish Sodhi took down Rahul Tripathi for 13.

Suryakumar, a T20 sensation, stood firm and despite losing Washington Sundar to a run out steered the team home as he put on an unbeaten stand of 31 with Pandya, 15 not out.

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