MOUNT MAUNGANUI: Suryakumar Yadav displayed his unmatched superiority in the shortest format with a breathtaking hundred as India outplayed New Zealand by 65 runs in the second T20 here on Sunday.
Surya struck a sensational 111 not out off 51 balls for his second T20 century and fired India to 191 for six. Promoted to number three, the 32-year-old toyed with the bowlers to lift India to a challenging total after New Zealand put the visitors into bat.
He smashed boundaries and sixes at will, his last 64 runs coming off just 18 balls. His entertaining innings had 11 fours and seven sixes and his strike rate was an incredible 217.64. New Zealand bowlers appeared clueless as Surya kept strung together some extraordinary shots.
The hosts kept losing wickets in the run chase and never looked in the hunt. In the end, New Zealand were all out for 126 in 18.5 overs.
With the first game being washed out, India now lead the three-match series 1-0 with the final game to be played on Tuesday.
New Zealand were dealt a setback at the start of the chase when the dangerous Finn Allen went for an expansive drive off a Bhuvneshwar Kumar outswinger only to be caught at third man.
Opener Devon Conway (25 off 22) and skipper Kane Williamson (61 off 52) stitched a 56-run stand but could not find the big hits that were needed to keep up with the asking rate.
Conway was caught at deep backward square leg while going for the sweep against Washington Sundar.
The big-hitting Glenn Phillips had to do something special to bring New Zealand back into the game. He made his intentions clear with a crisp slog sweep off Yuzvendra Chahal that went all the way but two balls later, the same shot led to his downfall.
With New Zealand struggling to 89 for five in the 14th over, the game was as good as over.
It was a good comeback game for Yuzvendra Chahal (2/26) who surprisingly did not get a single game in the recent World Cup.
Part-time off-spinner Deepak Hooda struck thrice in the 19th over and ended up with a four-wicket haul. Skipper Hardik Pandya did not bowl.
Surya’s sensational form continues
Earlier, India’s experiment to open with Rishabh Pant did not work as he fell after a sluggish six off 13 balls.
While Surya was once again in a league of his own, other batters who showed intent but could not go on were opener Ishan Kishan (36 off 31) and number four Shreyas Iyer (13 of 9).
India’s powerplay approach was in focus before the game but not much was delivered on that front, with the team reaching 42 for one in six overs.
It might not look simple to the naked eye but in his own words, Surya kept it “simple” and executed his amazing range of strokes as per the field placements.
If the spinners pitched it full on off stump, he was happy to play the inside-out shot over cover and when the faster bowlers targeted his stumps on a good length, he helped the ball sail past fine leg for a bunch of sixes.
In total, Surya collected 11 fours and seven sixes. He brought up his second T20 century off 49 balls with an aerial drive that went wide of sweeper cover.
Surya went berserk in the penultimate over bowled by Lockie Ferguson, hammering four boundaries and a phenomenal six over deep point. The fast bowler had clearly run out of ideas with Surya on song.
The last five overs yielded 72 runs.
Tim Southee bowled a brilliant 20th over and stemmed the free flow of runs by taking a hat-trick. He dismissed Washington Sundar, Deepak Hooda and Hardik Pandya on the trot.