India 191 for 6 (Suryakumar 111*, Kishan 36, Southee 3-34) beats New Zealand 126 (Williamson 61, Hooda 4-10, Siraj 2-24) by 65 runs
Hardik Pandya just watched from the other end as Suryakumar toyed with an international bowling line-up which he made look ordinary. And with 192 to get, New Zealand’s chase only kept crawling from the start: their powerplay fetched just 32 runs with only three boundaries, laying perhaps the perfect foundation for them to flounder; and at 85 for 3 after 12 overs with Glenn Phillips gone, the required run rate of above 13 an over meant the match was all but decided.
Suryakumar defies logic, the bowling, and everything else
In what is turning out to be a defining year for him – he is already the highest run-getter in T20Is in 2022 – Suryakumar’s second T20I century of the year was perhaps different only in that it came in a winning cause.
Suryakumar brought out his trademark scoop for four over the wicketkeeper’s head just fourth ball despite being beaten for two consecutive deliveries before it. Typical T20 stuff: swing and a miss, but not bothered about next ball.
Ishan Kishan kept struggling after Rishabh Pant fell for a low score for which he had jostled himself, but Suryakumar knew he had to go only one way, especially with rain in the air. The rest of India’s batting scored 69 in as many deliveries – there were 11 extras too in the total – and that told the story of how many miles ahead Suryakumar was of his team-mates.
His first six came off Mitchell Santner, as he fetched a ball from wide outside off only to slog sweep and deposited it over fine leg. Then came the lofts over the off side: Santner’s first ball off the 11th over was scythed behind point, and Ish Sodhi’s first of the 12th was placed to deep extra cover with high elbows.
But Suryakumar had reserved special treatment for Lockie Ferguson: with eight overs to go and India’s total still under a hundred, he drove and whipped the fast bowler for a four and six, respectively. That was Act 1 of Suryakumar vs Ferguson.
Suryakumar brought up his fifty off 32 balls in the 16th over, and with time running out, got into Southee to start the 17th: a six swung across the line over midwicket, and a whip to the same region for four, albeit helped by a misfield. Two balls later, he adjusted to thrash at a short ball outside off despite making room early.
Runs came from everywhere: inside-out lofts over cover and mid-off, and whips and flicks over fine leg. The platform for Act 2 of Suryakumar vs Ferguson had been laid: 4, 0, 4, 4, 4, 6 in the 19th over. The third boundary brought up his hundred off 49 balls, but three other shots were jaw-dropping: the first four was sliced over short third after opening the bat face very late, the fifth was tickled over the wicketkeeper in spite of the short length and the ball rising close to his shoulder, and the six was flung over short third again as he opened the bat face to a length that seemed too full to even have a go.
New Zealand limp in big chase
New Zealand’s required rate had raced past 11 after the first six overs, after which came the only phase when they seemed like attacking. Williamson and Devon Conway picked 17 off Washington Sundar’s first over, before he hit back by dismissing Conway first ball of the ninth for a tame 25 off 22 deliveries.
Not a single boundary was hit between Williamson, Daryl Mitchell, James Neesham and Mitchell Santner for 33 balls after that six from Phillips, by which time, New Zealand’s fate was nearly sealed. They were 111 for 6 after 17 overs, after which Williamson got to his fifty off his 48th delivery.
Himanshu Agrawal is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo