McCullum helps New Zealand clinch the T20 series
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter

Scorecard:New Zealand v India
Player:DL Vettori, BB McCullum, JD Ryder, IK Pathan, MS Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh
Event:India in New Zealand 2008/09

DateLine: 27th February 2009


New Zealand beat India by 5 wickets in a thrilling encounter to win the series 2-0 in Wellington. In a match that went down the wire, with the Kiwis needing one run off the last ball, Brendon McCullum mistimed a hit over mid-off, Rohit Sharma ran back to take the catch, but could not take the catch even with a dive, leaving New Zealand victorious. Earlier, A disciplined bowling effort from New Zealand restricted India to 149/6.


For the second match in a row, New Zealand's disciplined bowlers derailed India's big hitters. Iain O'Brien and Ian Butler sliced through the top order, Daniel Vettori was at his miserly best, and Jesse Ryder kept India down to 149. India's shot selection left a lot to be desired as Yuvraj Singh top scored with a half-century but just as he was threatening to take the visitors to a big total, he holed out. Mahendra Singh Dhoni remained unbeaten till the end, but his timing was awry and he could only manage a subdued 28, with only two boundaries.


Virender Sehwag had provided a belligerent start as he was in his usual carefree self, hitting boundaries at will a tennis forehand had barely cleared mid-off in the third over, which was where he spliced a catch off O'Brien. But the runs dried up after his dismissal and New Zealand's bowlers never let the initiative slip. Suresh Raina fell attempting a pull, and Gautam Gambhir was caught behind attempting the steer to third man. Yuvraj and Dhoni played responsibly and the runs were coming only in singles. New Zealand's bowlers and fielders kept it tight, just nine runs were scored in one three-over spell. The running also showed hints of desperation, with both batsmen surviving several close calls.


India were struggling at 64 for 3 after 10, when Yuvraj decided to cut loose. One wild swipe resulted in an inside-edge for four and that was followed by three mighty swings of maximum into the crowd to up the ante. But then going for one shot too many he was caught just inside the boundary off O'Brien by Oram Yusuf was bowled attempting a dab to a full ball from Vettori and Ravindra Jadeja had trouble finding the gap early in his innings. At the other end, Dhoni couldn't force the pace, most of his runs coming only in singles. Jadeja and Irfan Pathan were left to play the big hits, and their efforts lifted India towards 150, still someway short of the total they would have been looking for at the start.


Ryder started off in an aggressive manner as he took apart the Indian opening bowlers while McCullum played the second fiddle well. McCullum hit a six and 8 fours in his match-winning knock of 69 runs that came off 55 balls. The hefty left-handed opener hit 2 sixes and 3 fours in his 15-ball knock of 26. Ryder and Brendon McCullum brought up Kiwi fifty in just 4.1 overs.


Indian pace spearhead Zaheer Khan dismissed Jesse Ryder to put New Zealand at 53/1 in 5 overs. Ryder looked to pull but a thin edge just clipped the top of off-stump giving India the first breakthrough. The next breakthrough for India came after Harbhajan Singh dismissed Martin Guptill leg before wicket which was a debatable decision to reduce New Zealand to 69/2 in 8.5 overs. Guptill tried to pull, there was a big inside edge and umpire Baxter gave it out after much thought leaving Guptill to walk off the field shaking his head.


Dhoni having seen the success of Ryder and Vettori employed his slow bowlers in the form of Harbhajan and Jadeja who did their bit to slow down the run rate that was spiralling out of control. Taylor and McCullum added fifty for the third wicket and once the Kiwis entered the final five overs the pair decided to open out their arms and that resulted in some swipes. Zaheer Khan bowled well in his second spell restricting the batsmen but then it was Irfan Pathan who brought India back into the game. Two wickets in two deliveries by Irfan Pathan reduced New Zealand to 125/4 in 17.3 overs. Pathan, bowling his second spell, first clean bowled Ross Taylor (27) with a yorker and on the next delivery, had Jacob Oram caught behind by MS Dhoni.


In the next over Yuvraj chipped in with the wicket of Broom and it was then left for the McCullum brothers to see through the final over. Irfan was handed the responsibility by Dhoni to get through the final over as the Kiwis needed 12 runs to win. The first three balls were on target as he kept the batsmen to just singles. The next ball was a full toss and Brendon McCullum who was seeing the ball well sends it over midwicket for a crucial boundary and then he follows up the next ball with another boundary back over the bowler's head for another boundary to level the scores. In between there were separate incidents of crowd disturbance as play was brought to stop. With just one run needed from the final ball all the fielders were brought in the circle and on a perfect good length ball, McCullum has a swipe, sending it over mid-off which was in and Rohit Sharma runs back and dives in desperation, gets his fingertips to the ball but unfortunately the ball was just out of reach for him and New Zealand gets the final run to win the T20 match and with it the series.






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