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 came together in the latter part of the power play after New Zealand opted to bat first after the pitch was delayed for half an hour. Bhuvneshwar Kumar had extracted a prodigious move with the new ball, but it was Arshdeep’s strike that caught Finn Allen lbw. Mark Chapman looked to raise the ante but fell when he tried to take on Siraj.
Conway had just gotten going when he hit a six sandwiched between two fours from Arshdeep’s second on the power play. He then used Bhuvneshwar’s pace to hit a huge six over deep midwicket. From 2-for-11 balls, he suddenly ran to 23-for-17 at the six mark. He then hit two more fours in the first two overs from Yuzvendra Chahal to get a surface measure.
Phillips also took a little time to get into it. Two of his first three fours had come over the edges: first, when he took a Harshal Patel toss between the legs and then when he was pinned in the crease and out. he-he skirted a ball from Siraj after getting hit by the pace. But he announced his arrival when he touched successive boundaries in front of Chahal. He first pushed one faster across the cover before a generously flown ball from the legpinner was deposited on the roof of the stands at cow corner.
Phillips’ pyrotechnics saw him bring in his eighth T20I half-century. Meanwhile, Conway also scored his fifty. Going 2 for 130 with over four overs remaining, New Zealand seemed to have set their sights on a score of over 180 at McLean Park, where the square boundaries were quite short.
Siraj – too hot to handle
Siraj was taken to bowling at a crucial stage, not once but twice. New Zealand had just scored 33 in the previous two overs when they came on to close out the power play. Chapman had changed the pace with his attacking start that rubbed off on Conway. The hosts were 44 for 1 when a short ball from Siraj saw Chapman launch a fast-moving try, only for Arshdeep to take a well-timed catch after running to his right from the middle.
Conway and Phillips were then in the midst of an 86-run partnership with New Zealand looking for a high finish. The races came thick and fast. What are the Indies doing? Call Siraj, perhaps?
He used a high-paced bumper for Phillips to catch the jerk before hitting hard length again for James Neesham to top a cross. He then picked up pace with his short ball for Mitchell Santner to slice one to cover. He only gave away two fours in his spell, one of which went through the outside edge of Phillips after he was beaten to the beat.
That was not all. In the penultimate over, Siraj was parked on point back and nailed a direct strike to the bowler’s end to put out Adam Milne. He really had a field day.
Arshdeep raises his hand, again
After conceding just one and dismissing Allen in his opening, Arshdeep was conceded 19 in his next. Conway and Daryl Mitchell hit a four apiece in their third over, their first in the death (overs 16 to 20). But with a clever change of pace, he had Conway holed deep into the center of the goal for 59.
In his next over, he quickened his pace to surprise Mitchell, who matched up a pull attempt. Arshdeep then turned to his favorite weapon in death, the yorker, to castle Ish Sodhi, who was on the defensive in anticipation of a goalkeeper.
“SKY” Pandya to the rescue
India’s chase began with Ishan Kishan slapping Tim Southee, who replaced Kane Williamson, in the opening. He then took a short ball from Adam Milne before Chapman caught it on the edge of the deep midwicket boundary. Rishabh Pant then hit a pair of fours before being dismissed by Southee.
When Southee bounced Shreyas Iyer off the first ball, India were 3 for 21 inside three overs and in tatters.
But Suryakumar Yadav and Pandya continued to attack to get 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 dismissive jerk before Suryakumar played an extra-extended drive to match the result.
However, the introduction of the spin caused India to slow down, and Sodhi managed to take out Suryakumar. Hooda and Pandya then played a couple of overs before the match was cancelled.
S Sudarshanan is deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo
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