Pandey takes India to 165/8 in fourth T20

Wellington, Jan 31 (PTI) Manish Pandey led India's recovery with an unbeaten 50 off 36 balls, taking the visitors to 165 for eight against New Zealand in the fourth T20 International here on Friday.

Put into bat, India were struggling at 88-6 at one stage before Pandey’s lonesome rescue act took them to a respectable total. KL Rahul contributed 39 runs off 26 balls, inclusive of three sixes and two fours.

This was after New Zealand won a fourth consecutive toss and opted to field. Kane Williamson didn’t take part in the match owing to a shoulder niggle. Tim Southee is the stand-in skipper with the Black Caps making two changes.

India also made three changes with Rohit Sharma, Mohammed Shami and Ravindra Jadeja rested. Sanju Samson, Washington Sundar and Navdeep Saini came into the playing eleven respectively.

Samson (8) opened the innings with Rahul, but lasted only five balls before holing out. Virat Kohli (11) too was out cheaply, the ball looping up to extra cover and out caught off Hamish Bennett (2-41).

Ish Sodhi then got into the act and ran through India’s batting order. First to go was Shreyas Iyer (1) and then Shivam Dube (12) was caught at mid-wicket.

India seemed intent on destroying this experimentation opportunity, while New Zealand fielded well and caught everything that came their way. The alarm bells came on when Rahul was caught off Sodhi at midwicket in the ninth over.

Sodhi finished with 3-26 while Santner dismissed Sundar for nought as the New Zealand spinners rounded up a good outing with 4-54 in eight overs.

Pandey came to India’s rescue thereafter as he marshalled the innings along with Shardul Thakur (20 off 15 balls) and Navdeep Saini (11 not out).

He put on 43 runs with Thakur for the seventh wicket and then added another 22 with Saini. In doing so, Pandey brought up his half-century off 36 balls, inclusive of three fours, and helped put on a defendable score on the board.

India have an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series after consecutive victories in Auckland and Hamilton. PTI CN BS BS BS