McCullum gives New Zealand win in Twenty20 thriller

February 27th, 2009 - 5:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Wellington, Feb 27 (IANS) Brendon McCullum hit his second consecutive half-century to guide New Zealand to a thrilling five-wicket win over India in the last Twenty20 international here Friday. The Black Caps won the two match series 2-0.
McCullum scored an unbeaten 69 as New Zealand scampered home in the last ball of the match at the Westpac Stadium. Yuvraj Singh’s well played 50 went in vain.

After being restricted by New Zealand slow bowlers to 149, Indian bowlers also did well in the later stages to take the match to the wire but McCullum showed why he is considered the best player in the shortest version of the game. He also picked up his second consecutive Man of the Match award for his match winning innings.

After being asked to bat, Indian batsmen paid due to some poor shot selection as New Zealand slow bowlers Daniel Vettori and Jesse Ryder arrested the run flow in the last few overs after Ian O’Brien and Ian Butler ran through the top-order.

Unlike in the previous match, Indian batsmen didn’t go for blind shots and made a slow but watchful start.

Virender Sehwag (24), however, provided another belligerent start while Gautam Gambhir (10) failed to adjust to the pitch. But some reckless shots from Sehwag, Gambhir and Suresh Raina saw India slump to 47/3 in the seventh over.

Yuvraj and India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (28 not out) then played responsibly for their 45-run stand for the fourth wicket. Yuvraj hit four sixes and three fours during his 34-ball stay. But just when he looked set for a big inning, he scooped O’Brien to Jacob Oram for a simple catch at the extra cover.

Ryder and Vettori then checked the run rate with their slow deliveries as India could muster only 149 runs while losing five wickets.

While chasing, Brendon and Jesse Ryder (26) took New Zealand to a flyer as the hosts cruised along well ahead of the required run-rate.

It was one over from Irfan Pathan (2-41) that brought India back into the fight. Irfan picked up two big hitters Ross Taylor (27) and Oram in successive deliveries in the 18th over to stretch the game to the last ball.

New Zealand needed 23 runs in the last two overs but McCullum held his nerves and hit two consecutive fours in the final over to see his team through.

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