Courtesy an all-round performance, Team India thumped New Zealand by 7 wickets to level the three-match series at Eden Park in Auckland on Friday. After the loss in Wellington, it was a complete performance by the visiting team who hardly put a foot wrong during the second encounter.
Among the home team supporters was former New Zealand cricketer Nathan McCullum with his family to cheer for the Black Caps. However, much to the disappointment of fans, the hosts were restricted to a below-par 158/8 in 20 overs after a disciplined bowling performance by the Indian bowlers. Interestingly, it was not Kiwi-show with the bat which surprised McCullum but the presence of Indian crowd in Auckland did. He acknowledged them for creating “an awesome time for the kids”.
“Took my family to the cricket tonight for @BLACKCAPS Great atmosphere @edenparknz with the Indian fans making it an awesome time for the kids. Loud and energetic. Gotta love the passion for the Indian team and players that the fans present. Felt like I was back in India,” Nathan McCullum said on Twitter.
Opener and stand-in-captain Rohit Sharma along with Shikhar Dhawan (30) gave a solid start to the touring side in the run-chase. The Hitman scored a quick fifty off 29 balls, becoming the leading run-scorer in the format along the way before giving a catch to Tim Southee off Ish Sodhi’s delivery. Not letting go off the momentum set by the Hitman, former skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Rishabh Pant chased down the target with their unbeaten cameo of 20 and 40 respectively.
New Zealand had a floppy start as their openers were dismissed in quick succession. Injecting some momentum, Colin de Grandhomme top-scored with his 28-ball 50, including four sixes and a boundary. While Ross Taylor missed out on his half-century as he was dismissed for 42.
For India, spinner Krunal Pandya claimed three wickets, while Khaleel Ahmed chipped in with two scalps in the final over.