Mount Maunganui: Suryakumar Yadav put out yet another 360-degree astonishing masterclass in T20I batting with an unbeaten 49-ball century to propel India to a challenging 191/6 against New Zealand in the second T20I at Mount Maunganui Sunday.
On a sluggish pitch where almost all Indian batters found it tough to time the ball, Suryakumar, the top-ranked T20I batter, hit 11 fours and seven sixes all over the park at a strike-rate of 217.65 to be unbeaten on 111 off 51 balls, his second T20I century.
For New Zealand, veteran pacer Tim Southee took his second T20I hat-trick to pick 3/34 in his four overs. Southee’s hat-trick, on a day New Zealand’s bowlers leaked runs aplenty, was pivotal in restricting India to below 200.
India began the innings with Rishabh Pant whipping strongly past mid-on off Tim Southee in the opening over. But it was his fellow left-hander Ishan Kishan who was more fluent in his stroke-play.
He began by dabbing Southee late through third man for four, flicking Lockie Ferguson over deep square-leg for six and then placed a drive off an inconsistent Adam Milne between extra cover and mid-off.
In a bid to break the shackles, Pant tried to pull a short, outside the off-stump ball from Ferguson in the final over of power-play. But the ball took a top-edge and was caught easily by Southee running backwards from short third man.
Suryakumar Yadav got going with a scooped four clearing the keeper while Kishan welcomed James Neesham with back-to-back fours on both sides of the wicket, before rain stopped play for 26 minutes.
Post resumption, Kishan successfully overturned an lbw call off Ish Sodhi and drilled a drive down the ground for four in the same over. After Suryakumar swept Mitchell Santner for six over deep backward square leg, Sodhi ended Kishan’s stay on the very next ball as the left-hander cut straight to short third man.
Shreyas Iyer sparkled in lofting Sodhi on both sides of the ‘v’ for four and six. But in a bid to flick off Ferguson, his backfoot disturbed the stumps and was out hit-wicket. But Suryakumar marched forward in his trademark style, carving delightful drives, especially going inside-out twice over extra cover off Sodhi for a brace of fours.
He then used pace from Ferguson to whip off his hips over fine leg for six, leaving everyone in awe of the shot. After reaching his fifty in 32 balls, Suryakumar again delighted the crowd by dancing down the pitch for a crisp lofted six over deep extra cover off Santner.
He then brought out his supple wrists to flick Southee for six and four in the first two balls of 17th over, before hitting Milne for a brace of sixes on slower balls over long-off and fine leg. Suryakumar tore into Ferguson in the 19th over, opening the face of the bat late to carve over third man for four.
He then hit the tearaway pacer for three fours and a six in the 19th over, second of which got him a 49-ball century with a beautiful drive through extra cover. Southee took a hat-trick in the final over by dismissing Hardik Pandya, Deepak Hooda and Washington Sundar on consecutive deliveries as Suryakumar ended up at 111 not out.
Brief Scores: India 191/6 in 20 overs (Suryakumar Yadav 111 not out, Ishan Kishan 36; Tim Southee 3/34, Lockie Ferguson 2/49) against New Zealand.