New Zeland 160 (Conway 59, Phillips 54, Siraj 4-17, Arshdeep 4-37) tied with India 75 for 4 (Pandya 30*, Southee 2-27) via DLS method
The Conway Phillips Show
Conway and Phillips were reunited in the last over of the power play after New Zealand opted to bat first after the coin toss was delayed for half an hour. Bhuvneshwar Kumar had pulled off a prodigious move with the new ball but it was Arshdeep’s inside swing that trapped Finn Allen lbw. Mark Chapman tried to up the ante but crashed when he tried to tackle Siraj.
Conway had just rallied himself when he hit a six sandwiched between two fours from Arshdeep’s second over on the power play. He then used Bhuvneshwar’s pace to hit a huge six over a deep midwicket. From 2 off 11, he was suddenly running to 23 for 17 at the score of six overs. He then hit two more fours in Yuzvendra Chahal’s first two overs to get a measure of the surface.
Phillips also took a while to enter. Two of his first three fours had come from the corners: first, when he netted a Harshal Patel delivery between the legs and then when he was rooted in the crease and dished out a Siraj ball after being beaten for the pace. But he announced his arrival when he passed the next borders of Chahal. First he fed a quicker one through cover before a generously bowled ball from the legspinner was deposited on the roof of the cow corner stands.
Phillips’ fireworks saw him bring off his eighth T20I half-century. Meanwhile, Conway also scored his fifty. At 2 for 130 with more than four overs left, New Zealand looked to have been aiming for a score of over 180 at McLean Park where square boundaries were quite short.
Siraj – too hot to handle
Siraj was brought in to bowl at a crucial stage, not once but twice. New Zealand had just scored 33 in the previous two overs when he came on to close out the power play. Chapman had changed the pace with his offensive start that rubbed off on Conway. The home side were 44 for 1 when a short ball from Siraj had Chapman attempting to strike, only for Arshdeep to take a well-judged catch after running to his right from halfway.
Conway and Phillips were then in the midst of an 86-run partnership with New Zealand aiming for a high finish. The racing was getting thick and fast. What is India doing? Call Siraj, perhaps?
He used a high-paced bumper to make Phillips catch his shot before hitting hard length again to have James Neesham on the top edge with a cross shot. He then slowed his drop ball to have Mitchell Santner slice one to cover. He has only given up two fours in his spell, one of which has been on the outside edge by Phillips after being beaten for pace.
That wasn’t all. In the penultimate over, Siraj was stationed back and nailed a straight shot to the bowler’s end to bowl out Adam Milne. He’s really had a field day.
Arshdeep raises his hand again
After conceding just one and dismissing Allen in his opener, Arshdeep was run out for 19 in his next. Conway and Daryl Mitchell hit a four apiece in his third over, his first at the death (over 16 for 20). But in a clever change of pace, he bowled Conway in deep midwicket for 59.
On his next pass, he upped the pace to catch Mitchell off guard, who gloved a field goal attempt. Arshdeep then used his favorite death weapon, the yorker, to castle Ish Sodhi, who was on the back foot ahead of a bouncer.
“SKY” Pandya to the rescue
India’s chase began with Ishan Kishan slapping Tim Southee, who replaced Kane Williamson, beyond the point in the opener. Lui then bowled a short ball from Adam Milne before Chapman caught him at the edge of the deep midwicket boundary. Rishabh Pant then hit a pair of fours before being dismissed by Southee.
When Southee rebounded Shreyas Iyer off first ball India were 3 for 21 inside three overs and in tatters.
But Suryakumar Yadav and Pandya kept attacking their way out of trouble. They added 39 inside four overs to put India back in the contest. Pandya opened the six-count for India with a disdainful shot before Suryakumar played a long extra-cover drive to match the result.
However, the introduction of spin saw India slow down, with Sodhi managing to reward Suryakumar. Hooda and Pandya then bowled a couple of overs before the match was forfeited.
S Sudarshanan is a sub-editor of ESPNcricinfo