Tim Southee's 2-for restricted India    Getty Images
Tim Southee’s 2 for 13 restricted India Getty Images

The groundsmen deserve all the accolades to make an 8-over contest possible. In the process, Greenfield Stadium, Thiruvananthapuram became the 50th international venue in India. Kane Williamson opted to bowl on a turf with adequate moisture. New Zealand, in their 100th T20I, restricted India to 67 for 5. If visitors manage to seal the series, this will be their second series victory on Indian soil. They had won the 2012-13 T20I series 1-0.

Trent Boult started proceedings with off-cutters and tricked the Indian openers. The first over ended at 7 for no loss. In an 8-over contest, it wasn’t an ideal start. The second over fetched another 8 runs. At this stage Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan decided to take the bowlers on. Nonetheless, the plan backfired. Southee’s off-cutters removed Rohit and Dhawan in consecutive deliveries as Mitchell Santner shrugged off the ghosts of the previous match and held on to both catches.

Virat Kohli looked in ominous touch, looking to play through the line. Hitting a four and six off Ish Sodhi, he fell to a short-pitched delivery. Removing the Indian skipper, Sodhi became the highest wicket-taker in India-New Zealand T20Is, surpassing Daniel Vettori (later in the day, Boult also drew level with Vettori). Southee continued to take the pace off the ball. Meanwhile, Manish Pandey took on Sodhi to pile on runs.

Shreyas Iyer fell for 6, going for a big shot. Pandey was joined by Hardik Pandey. Pandya got one in the slot and lofted it into the stands. Nonetheless, the last over went for only 6 runs to keep India to 67 for 5.

The Indian fast bowlers will probably respond with slower deliveries as well. On the other hand, Martin Guptill and Colin Munro will be itching to have a go from ball one after their heroics at Rajkot.

Brief scores

India 67 for 5 in 8 overs (Virat Kohli 13, Manish Pandey 17; Tim Southee 2 for 13, Ish Sodhi 2 for 23) vs New Zealand