India set a target of 168 runs in second T20

Brendon McCullum top scored for New Zealand with 91 runs AFP

Chennai: Sep 11, 2012

Brendon McCullum smashed his way to a 55-ball 91 as New Zealand recovered from a jittery start to post a respectable 167 for five against India in the second Twenty20 International, on Tuesday.

New Zealand’s finest T20 batsman McCullum took Indian bowlers to cleaners after the ‘Black Caps’ were reduced 2/2 with both openers back in the hut.

McCullum hit as many as 11 boundaries and three huge sixes including a couple off Ravichandran Ashwin.

The foundation of the New Zealand innings was 90-run third wicket partnership between McCullum and Kane Williamson, who contributed 28. More than the runs he scored, Williamson gave McCullum freedom to play his natural and aggressive game which has made the latter a big hit in the shortest format.

Irfan Pathan was most successful Indian bowler with figures of three for 31 including the prize scalp of McCullum, who was looking good for his second T20 International century.

Pathan foxed him with slower delivery that he failed to connect and it hit the stumps after brushing his pads.

Earlier, put into bat, New Zealand started on a disastrous note as they lost both their openers Rob Nicol and Martin Guptill within the first two overs.

Nicol was bowled off the last delivery of the first over from Zaheer Khan as he shuffled across towards off-stump only to miss a fuller delivery that pegged his leg stump back. He couldn’t open his account.

Irfan Pathan also delivered in his very first over as his trademark inswinger saw Guptill being castled after playing to a wrong line after scoring only one.

McCullum and Williamson then started the repair work.

After carefully negotiating the opening bowlers for a couple of overs, McCullum chanced his arms as he first hit Zaheer over square leg and then flashed hard through point region to get a couple of boundaries.

Lakshmipathy Balaji, who made his T20 debut for India was also hit for a couple of boundaries from MCCullum although the first one was a streaky inside edge.

A huge roar went up as Yuvraj Singh came into bowl his left-arm spinners. The first over went for only four runs but in the second over, McCullum gave him the charge hitting him over sight screen for a huge six.

In the same over, McCullum’s powerful shot which could have been a brilliant caught & bowled chance saw Yuvraj hurting his left palm and had to leave the field for a brief period of time to get medical attention.

The New Zealand 50 came in the ninth over while McCullum hit his second six off Ashwin over long on boundary.

The Black Caps glovesman brought up a well deserved half-century off 32 balls with a four over point off Balaji’s bowling.

Finally, with scoreboard reading 92 for two, Williamson who tried to scoop Pathan over fine leg lobbed one straight up as Ashwin took a well-judged catch running backwards.

McCullum didn’t stop taking on the Indian attack as he managed to hit atleast a boundary per over. Just when it looked that century was round the corner, he perished to an innocuous looking delivery from Pathan.

James Franklin didn’t last long as Balaji dismissed him with Yuvraj taking a simple catch.

New Zealand skipper Ross Taylor played his part well chipping in with 25 off 19 balls that included a big six off Pathan. (PTI)

Brief Score: New Zealand: 167 for 5 in 20 overs (Brendon McCullum 91, Kane Williamson 28; Irfan Pathan 3 for 31) vs India

Catch the live score & ball-by-ball commentary of the second T20 match here