Black Caps cling on for series win against India

By Sports Desk February 10, 2019

New Zealand held on for a four-run victory in Hamilton to wrap up a 2-1 Twenty20 series win against India.

The Black Caps had won the opener in Wellington before being pegged back by the tourists in Auckland.

But Colin Munro (72 off 40) put in an impressive shift as the hosts posted 212-4 and the target proved just beyond the reach of India, who won last month's ODI series between the sides.

Munro and Tim Seifert (43) combined for 80 runs for the first wicket as India found New Zealand difficult to break down, but both men were ultimately dismissed by Kuldeep Yadav.

Kuldeep was India's star performer with ball in hand, taking 2-26 from his four overs.

The India innings got off to a far from ideal start, with Shikhar Dhawan (5) caught off the bowling of Mitchell Santner (2-32 off three overs) just five balls in.

Santner was also responsible for breaking India's most fruitful partnership when he saw off the tourists' top scorer Vijay Shankar (43).

Rohit Sharma (38), Rishabh Pant (28) and Hardik Pandya (21) all helped India into a position from which they could challenge for the victory, but MS Dhoni could only manage two on his 300th T20 appearance and things did not go their way in the final over.

Needing 14 off the last four deliveries, Dinesh Karthik (33) refused a single, much to Krunal Pandya's (26) frustration, and he showed his own dissatisfaction after taking the single from the next.

Krunal's straight drive for the boundary then found the stumps at the bowler's end and the match was beyond India at that point.

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    India won the toss and chose to bat but a bright start was checked by a flurry of wickets as they went from 62-1 after seven overs to 134-9 at the end of their innings. 

    It was a total that never looked remotely competitive with De Kock clattering five sixes on his way to 79 not out from 52 balls as South Africa reached their target with 19 balls in hand. 

    The skipper and Reeza Hendricks (28) shared a 76-run opening partnership before Hardik Pandya had Hendricks caught by India captain Virat Kohli at mid on. 

    But South Africa were not knocked out of their stride, Temba Bavuma carrying on where Hendricks left off by making an unbeaten 27 as De Kock went through his repertoire. 

    Bavuma finished off the match with a six off Pandya with South Africa sprinting to 140-1. 

    India were left to rue wasting their review early on as it left them out of options when Washington Sundar pinned De Kock in front of his stumps in the seventh over, the opener having scored only 28. 

    It was ruled not out, but television replays showed the 19-year-old off-spinner's delivery would have hit the stumps. 

    The first game in the three-match series had been washed out in Dharamsala before India swept to a seven-wicket win in Chandigarh behind an unbeaten 72 from Kohli. 

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    Kagiso Rabada took 3-39, including the prized scalp of Kohli, while the impressive Beuran Hendricks and Bjorn Fortuin each grabbed a pair of wickets as India lost their way. 

    Left-arm seamer Beuran Hendricks took 2-14 from his four overs and was named man of the match.

    India and South Africa play three Tests next, starting in Visakhapatnam on October 2. 

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    The All Blacks had to withstand plenty of pressure in the opening quarter of their Pool B opener in Yokohama, but they seized control of the game in a stunning six-minute spell featuring tries for George Bridge and Scott Barrett.

    Although South Africa fought back impressively after the interval, New Zealand were able to remain ahead and extend their streak of never losing a World Cup pool game.

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    "If you concede, I think, 11 penalties to two, you're going to struggle to beat New Zealand. I think discipline was our biggest downfall. I don't think we can moan about anything.

    "As I said, I think the penalty count was 11-2, so we did 11 things wrong. We have to go and fix it. They only did two things wrong, which is unbelievably well disciplined by them. That battle, we lost.

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    No team has ever won the World Cup after losing in the pool stage, but Erasmus believes his side can buck that trend.

    "I think we can fight back. I think even in the game we fought back," he stated. "To be down 17-3 and get back to 17-13 and being in their 22 ... there were stages when we really fought back well."

    With a smile, he added: "If you're grouped with New Zealand in your pool, you've got a good chance of not going undefeated through your pool.

    "And then you have to fight back and try and get to the final, for the first time in history not being unbeaten. We have to go [down] that route now."

    Erasmus said Trevor Nyakane (calf) was the only Springboks player to pick up an injury, attributing late concerns over Cheslin Kolbe and Du Toit to cramp.

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