Comeback clicks but one too many for India
It appeared to be a replay, the winning runs coming with both MS Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh at the crease, guiding India home after Virat Kohli had steered them into a good position. In the end it was not quite a repeat of the World Cup final, but it was a crucial battle nonetheless. Khurram Habib reports. Scorecardindia Updated: Sep 12, 2012 00:25 IST
It appeared to be a replay, the winning runs coming with both MS Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh at the crease, guiding India home after Virat Kohli had steered them into a good position. In the end it was not quite a repeat of the World Cup final, but it was a crucial battle nonetheless.
Despite not being there at the end, and India losing, Yuvraj had won it and earned the right to be part of the XI at the World T20. He did it in style, spending time on the pitch with little trouble, even hitting Daniel Vettori for a well-timed six over deep long on.
And when the end was near, and runs desperately needed to tilt the equation, he opened his arms again, hoisting Jacob Oram over deep mid-wicket for six.
For the major part, he looked in better touch than MS Dhoni, who somehow couldn't press the accelerator when it was needed. Twenty two runs off 23 balls by Dhoni fell way behind Yuvraj's 34 off 26.
Before his dismissal, Virat had left India on the verge of victory, 48 were needed of 40 balls, not tough with strokeplayers sitting in the dugout.
With just their sixth T20 in a year, the Indians weren't exactly in shape to embark on the World T20 campaign. And opener Virender Sehwag was down with flu.
SOS to Kohli, and he delivered once again. It seems the Delhi boy can do no wrong these days. Runs don't just flow from his blade, they cascade.
While he was fielding in the deep, the crowd screamed out his name on more than a couple of occasions. He ensured them a response. When batting too, he gave them moments, right from his cuts to wide deliveries, or exquisitely timed punches or flicks.
While he was there, the Kiwis had no clue. The first shot itself showed his form. He pushed a decent length ball to the point boundary. In the next over, he cashed in on the width, and then, he used the pace to hit a straight four.
Even with Gambhir gone, he ensured the run flow did not stop. When he holed out in the deep, he'd done the job.
But while Yuvraj passed the test, MS Dhoni couldn't. With Sehwag out, the match could have been used to test Rohit Sharma and Manoj Tiwary's nerves.
He, for some reason, promoted himself up the order. But as it happened, when Rohit walked into bat, he needed to hit a four off just the second ball he faced. He failed, so did India and Dhoni.
India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (C), Gautam Gambhir, Ravichandran Ashwin, Laxmipathi Balaji, Zaheer Khan, Virat Kohli, Irfan Pathan, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Manoj Tiwary and Yuvraj Singh.
New Zealand: Ross Taylor (C), Martin Guptill, Brendon McCullum, Kane Williamson, Rob Nicol, Jacob Oram, Daniel Vettori, James Franklin, Kyle Mills, Adam Milne and Ronnie Hira.