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Men in Blue prevail in a sixy day at Christchurch

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It was a day to remember in cricketing history, one of the better games on display it was at the AMI Stadium in Chistchurch. On what appeared to be a sticky wicket where the ball wasn’t really coming onto the bat atleast at the start, more than 700 runs were scored with a staggering 31 sixes being hit all around the park! For the record, India won the match by just 58 runs having set an improbable target of 393. The Black Caps won the hearts of millions with their stunning fightback, their hunt lasted almost till the end to scare the mighty Indians. MS Dhoni in the end was just happy that his team didn’t finish like the Australians who failed to defend a target of 435 at Johannesburg against South Africa.

Toss: New Zealand had a blow coming ahead of this match with Skipper Daniel Vettori deciding to stay with his wife who was expected to deliver a child. The homeside was being led by Brendon McCullum who lost the toss and was asked to bowl first. Whilst India remained unchanged, the Kiwis made two changes with Jeetan Patel filling up for Dan Vettori and Tim Southee coming in for Iain O’Brien.

India bat New Zealand out of the match with a mind blowing 393

India lost an inform Sehwag early to a rash shot off Mills. The pitch seemed to have some moisture which was holding the ball onto the surface while the pace and bounce were not true. The moment demanded a lot of care initially from the Indian top order batsman. It was a perfect situation for Sachin Tendulkar as he was required to play the sheet anchor’s role. The other batsmen were required to show the patience and not over attack. The New Zealand bowling was pathetic to say the least, they failed to bowl in consistent areas and most often released all the pressure with plenty of bad balls. After a decent 50-run partnership with Sachin, Gambhir (15) had a soft dismissal trying to run one down to thirdman as his team slipped to 65 for 2 in the 13th over. Sachin Tendulkar was joined by Yuvraj Singh and that was the turning point of the game. Yuvraj was making life miserable for the Kiwi fast bowlers by pulling anything that was trifle short to the boundaries. The southpaw was on a roll and India decided to take their batting powerplay as early in the 23rd over. A total of 69 runs were plundered in this powerplay block with even Sachin Tendulkar making most of it with some intelligent scoops over the infield.

By the next drinks break, India had no stopping at all as they moved onto 197 for 2 in 29 overs with both the batsmen into 80s. Yuvraj was unlucky though after drinks as he got an inside edge taken by the keeper standing upto the stumps off medium pacer Elliott. That was a slight relief for the Kiwis with Yuvraj’s knock ending with an 87 from 60 balls (powered by 10 fours and 6 sixes). MS Dhoni joined Sachin and the two consolidated further till the slog overs. In the 46th over, there was a big blow for Indian fans as Tendulkar had to retire hurt due to a stomach muscle strain having made 163 from 133 balls (Sachin Tendulkar’s 43rd ODI hundred) with 16 fours and 5 sixes. It was unfortunate that a maiden double century in One Day Internationals was missed due to a tragic injury. India finished disappointingly under 400 thanks to a brilliant second last over from Kyle Mills. They still got to a massive 392 for 4. MS Dhoni scored 68 from 58 balls with 5 fours and 2 sixes. Suresh Raina chipped in with a superb 38 not out from 18 balls with just 5 sixes! The young Raina displayed that he was no less magical than either Yuvraj or Sachin in strokeplay!

Tim Southee had a nightmare going for 105 in his 10 overs, just a few runs less than Michael Lewis of Aus who holds the record for the most expensive spell. Mills had a good finish at 2 for 58 in his 10. The Kiwis lost 5 overs of Butler’s quota because of an injury.

Amazing Kiwis go down fighting right till the end!

The Kiwis got a rocking start from Skipper Brendon McCullum and the talented Jesse Ryder who packed a lot of punches in his shots. Zaheer Khan became a casualty but Praveen Kumar was doing alright with his intelligent change of pace. By the time India could gets its act right, the Kiwis had piled up 166 for the first wicket in the 22nd over. The breakthrough came thanks to Ryder’s Ranatunga style of running which cost the wicket of Brendon McCullum (71 from 68 balls with 6 fours and 3 sixes). Another run out followed, this time it was birthday boy Ross Taylor falling to a superb throw from Yuvraj from short fine leg. And another one soon followed with Martin Guptill getting a slightly tough lbw decision to an arm ball from Yuvraj that hit him just around middle and leg. New Zealand and Jesse Ryder suddenly lost the momentum at 182 for 3 in the 26th over. The left hander himself fell in the 27th over playing a fruitless chip shot off Harbhajan. Ryder had scored 105 from just 80 balls with 12 fours and 4 sixes. He was dropped in the 13th over by MS Dhoni in what was a sitter off Munaf. The bad fielding disease seemed to have caught up with the Indians at that stage as in the 14th over, McCullum too was offered a life when his powerful lofted shot was put down by Yusuf Pathan at deep point.

Harbhajan Singh, who got the wicket of Ryder, had a terrible start going for 29 in his first two overs. Ryder played some brilliant inside out shots over the off side, on most times playing Bhajji like a medium pacer and hitting him through the line. India kept on chipping at the wickets after Ryder’s fall with Oram, McGlashan and Elliott all disappearing quickly without a fight. Oram played onto the stumps off Bhajji and McGlash and Elliott were cleaned by Zaheer Khan during the batting powerplay. It was just matter of time before the Kiwis were going to be bowled out from 218 for 7 in the 34th over but that wasn’t to be. First Ian Butler came out playing some good shots to score 24 before missing a slog off Yuvraj. It still wasn’t the end with Kyle Mills and Tim Southee playing their big shots at will and piling up quite a few boundaries and sixes. The Indian bowling fell flat, especially Munaf Patel who got punished as he didn’t bowl with any intensity. It was an embarrassment for India when Munaf was banned from bowling having dished out a couple of beamers in the 45th over with New Zealand racing away to 333 for 8.

Munaf’s exit was a blessing in disguise though for India as Yusuf Pathan got his first bowl to end Kyle Mills’ fight. Mills was caught at short fine leg having scored an amazing 54 from 32 balls with 6 fours and 3 sixes coming in at no.9. Praveen Kumar ended the match by forcing Southee (30 from 20 balls with 3 fours and 2 sixes) to miscue a pull shot. The ninth wicket partnership between Mills and Southee was worth 83 from just 7 overs! New Zealand were bowled out for 334 in 45.1 overs. The Man of the Match was given to Sachin Tendulkar and India with a lead of 2-0 cannot lose this series.

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