Munro’s blistering ton helps New Zealand square series at Rajkot

New Zealand beat India by 40 runs to level the three-match T20 series.

Colin Munro’s sublime innings helped New Zealand thrash India by 40 runs in the second T20I to level three-match series 1-1 in Rajkot on Saturday. The visitors were completely outplayed in all three departments in the first game of the T20 series played at Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi.

New Zealand made few changes for the game as Tom Latham was replaced by Glenn Phillips and Adam Milne coming in for Tim Southee. India went in with any unchanged side for this game as well.

With victory needed to stay alive in the series, Black Caps skipper Kane Williamson won the toss and this time decided to bat first. Martin Guptill and Colin Munro started in a positive fashion as they attacked the Indian bowlers from the outset. Guptill was particularly severe on the leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal who conceded a lot of runs in his first two overs.

His decision paid dividend as Kiwis posted mammoth 196 for the loss of two wickets in their allotted 20 overs, courtesy Munro’s heroics. The hard-hitting left-hander scored his second century in 20-over cricket and smashed unbeaten 109 off just 58 balls with the help of seven fours and seven maximums to left home side’s bowlers with no place to hide.

It was due to his aggressive batting performance because of which three out of six bowlers used by home side went for more than 13 runs per over. Jaspreet Bumrah was once again standout bowler for the side as he conceded less than six runs an over. For India, debutante Mohammed Siraj and Yuzvendra Chahal claimed one wicket each.

Colin Munro was well supported by his fellow opener Martin Guptill, who scored 45 off 41 with the help of three boundaries. The pair added 105 runs for the opening wicket to lay down ideal platform for New Zealand to post a big score on the board.

In reply, New Zealand premier pacer Trent Boult jolted hosts early as he sent back previous match star opening partners Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan back to the pavilion in the second over.

Captain Virat Kohli then tried to stabilize the ship, first with 54-run third-wicket stand with young Shreyas Iyer, and then with 56-run fifth-wicket partnership with former captain and wicket-keeper-batsman MS Dhoni.

However, it was not proved enough for the hosts who only managed to score 156 for the loss of seven wickets in their 20 overs. Kohli finished the innings with the top score of 65 off 42 with the help of eight fours and one six, whereas Dhoni scored valuable 49 off 37 with the help of two fours and three sixes.For New Zealand, Boult was the pick of the bowlers as he claimed three, whereas spinners Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi and medium pacer Collin Munro claimed a wicket each.

For his outstanding batting performance, Munro was awarded man of the match. The series is all level at 1-1 as the third and final game of the series will be played on Tuesday at Greenfield International Stadium, Thiruvananthapuram.

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