Wellington, Jan 31: A brilliant innings by Manish Pandey (50* off 36) guided India to a face-saving total of 165- 8, after a toporder collapse in the fourth T20I against New Zealand at Sky Stadium, here on Friday.
Apart from Pandey, opener KL Rahul ( 39 off 26) and Shardul Thakur (20 for 15) also made useful contributions with the bat for India. For New Zealand, Ish Sodhi (3/26) took three wickets, Hamish Bennett (2/41) picked two, while Tim Southee (1/28), Scott Kuggeleijn (1/39) and Mitchell Santner (1/26) picked one wicket each.
Earlier, New Zealand’s interim skipper Tim Southee won the toss and elected to bowl first. India were off to a bad start, losing first wicket in the 2nd over. Sanju Samson failed to make a mark again as he departed after scoring just 8 runs. Captain Virat Kohli who came to bat next, also departed for 11 as Mitchell Santner took a stunner inside the 30-yard circle, leaving India to struggle at 48/2 after 4.3 overs. Shreyas Iyer comes out to bat as India needed a partnership to bring their innings back on the track. However, Iyer looked out of touch and lost his wicket to Ish Sodhi after scoring just one run.
KL Rahul played a crucial knock of 39-run knock before losing his wicket to Sodhi. After Rahul's wicket, India suffered a middle-order collapse as Shivam Dube, Washington Sundar failed to rebuild the innings. From there on, Manish Pandey and Shardul Thakur tried to build a partnership. Thakur was hitting the ball hard whereas Pandey was cautious, knocking the ball around for singles and doubles, taking India to 104/6 after 14 overs. The 43-run partnership for the seventh wicket between Manish Pandey and Shardul Thakur helped India to get some momentum.
Thakur departed for 20 from 15 balls. In the end, Pandey took the responsibility on his shoulders, scoring his 3rd T20I fifty and helped India post 165/8 in 20 overs. Navdeep Saini also chipped in with a 9-ball 11. Pandey also became the second Indian batsman to score a half-century batting at No 6 or below after MS Dhoni. UNI