Sat, Feb 09, 2019 - Page 8 News List

India level series against New Zealand

LEADING FROM THE FRONT:India captain Rohit Sharma top-scored to set the all-time record for runs at 2,288, but remained focused on his side’s performance in the match

AFP, AUCKLAND, New Zealand

India’s Rohit Sharma bats in the second of a three-match Twenty20 international series against New Zealand at Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand, yesterday.

Photo: AFP

Rohit Sharma yesterday became the highest run-scorer in Twenty20 international history as India romped to a seven-wicket win over New Zealand in the second T20 in Auckland.

Sharma top-scored for the tourists with 50 as India chased down New Zealand’s modest 159-run target in 18.5 overs, leveling the three-match series at 1-1.

Sharma’s knock was his 16th T20 half-century and took his career tally in the format to 2,288 runs, overtaking New Zealand’s Martin Guptill on 2,272. The 31-year-old made his T20 debut against England in 2007 and has played 92 matches, averaging 33.15.

However, Sharma, who is standing in as captain while Virat Kohli is rested, was more interested in focusing on India’s performance than his individual achievements.

His team dominated New Zealand with bat and ball to avenge an 80-run loss in the opening fixture in Wellington — India’s heaviest-ever T20 defeat.

“I’m very pleased with how we bowled and then we were quite clinical with the bat as well,” he said. “We were expecting a performance like that, we’ve got quality in our side, but we didn’t execute our plans in the first game.”

“We learned from our mistakes and we got the reward for it,” he said.

India’s bowling attack was much improved and Man-of-the-Match Krunal Pandya took 3-28 as they restricted New Zealand to 158-8.

Colin de Grandhomme gave the Black Caps some hope, hitting a maiden T20 half-century off 27 balls as part of a 77-run partnership with Ross Taylor, who made 42.

However, the hosts could not break the shackles and tight bowling at the end of the innings prevented them from taking advantage of Eden Park’s short boundaries.

“We perhaps missed a trick or two with the bat,” New Zealand captain Kane Williamson said.

“Some smarter options might have given us another 20 runs at the death that would have been really helpful on that wicket,” he added.

India had no such problem in reply, making a flying start with Sharma leading the way.

His 50 — part of a 79-run opening stand with Shikhar Dhawan — included four sixes and three fours off 28 balls.

Dhawan made 30, Rishabh Pant 40 and Mahendra Singh Dhoni brought the crowd to its feet with an entertaining cameo of 20 as India made a trouble-free 162-3.

“That opening partnership for India really took the game away from us,” Williamson said.

The final match of the series is in Hamilton, New Zealand, tomorrow.

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