Rohit and Krunal Pandya inspire India victory

By Sports Desk February 08, 2019

Rohit Sharma blasted a brutal half-century after Krunal Pandya starred with the ball as India beat New Zealand by seven wickets at Eden Park to set up a Twenty20 series decider.

The tourists were hammered by 80 runs in the first match of the series in Wellington but responded impressively in Auckland on Friday.

Pandya (3-28) struck three times in quick succession to reduce the Black Caps to 50-4, but Colin de Grandhomme (50 off 28 balls) and Ross Taylor got Kane Williamson's side up to 158-8.

That was not enough to seal the series, though, as captain Rohit (50 from 29) produced a fierce onslaught to become the leading run-scorer in T20 internationals and Rishabh Pant (40 not out) hit the winning runs with seven balls to spare.

Tim Seifert - who made 84 in Wellington - was unable to repeat his heroics from the first match of the series, edging Bhuvneshwar Kumar behind to fall for only 12 before Pandya came to the party.

The spinner removed Colin Munro and Daryl Mitchell followed in controversial fashion in the same over, given out leg before following a review when there appeared to be an inside edge.

Pandya also trapped captain Williamson leg before, but De Grandhomme flexed his muscles as he and Taylor put on 77 for the fifth wicket - the all-rounder striking four sixes in a powerful knock.

De Grandhomme took 16 off three balls from Yuzvendra Chahal and struck Pandya for back-to-back sixes before falling to younger brother Hardik Pandya, then Taylor (42) was run out as New Zealand lost momentum.

Rohit took no time to get his eye in under the lights when India began their run chase, smashing Lockie Ferguson's first ball over the deep midwicket boundary before also setting about Scott Kuggeleijn.

The India skipper moved to 50 from only 28 balls but fell in the next over when he pulled a short ball from Ish Sodhi straight to Tim Southee at deep midwicket.

India were 88-2 when Shikhar Dhawan (30) was bounced out by Ferguson, but Pant - who struck a six and found the ropes four times - and MS Dhoni (20no) saw them home with ease, setting up a winner-takes-all showdown in Hamilton on Sunday.

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