Auckland: A blistering half-century by skipper Rohit Sharma set up India's seven-wicket win over New Zealand in the second Twenty20 International (T20I) here on Friday. The victory, India's first in a T20I in New Zealand, also helped them level the three-match series 1-1. The decider will be played on Sunday.
Rohit smashed a 29-ball 50 and put on 79 for the opening wicket in the company of Shikhar Dhawan (30). Rishabh Pant too chipped in as India romped home in over.
Earlier, Krunal Pandya enhanced his already growing reputation as a steady short format bowler with three important breakthroughs as India restricted New Zealand to 158/8 after the hosts opted to bat.
The miserly Krunal (3/28 in 4 overs) dismissed Colin Munro (12) and skipper Kane Williamson (20) to peg the Black Caps back.
In between, Krunal also got the controversial wicket of Daryl Mitchell (1), who fell pray to an umpiring howler, when 'Hotspot' showed a clear inside edge onto the pads.
However, Colin de Grandhomme, counter-attacked, scoring a blistering 50 off 28 balls, adding 77 runs with Ross Taylor (42 off 36 balls) for the fifth wicket.
Once de Grandhomme was sent back to the dug-out by Hardik Pandya (1/36 in 4 overs) and Taylor was run-out, New Zealand's chances of a big total went up in smoke.
It was a much-improved performance by the Indian bowlers with Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1/29 in 4 overs) removing Tim Seifert (12) in the third over with a fuller delivery, inducing an inside edge to Mahendra Singh Dhoni behind the stumps.
However, it was Krunal, who really applied the brakes after being brought inside the Powerplay overs.
The elder Pandya quickly found the ideal length, bowling his usual wicket to wicket deliveries with a flatter trajectory.
Both Munro and Williamson got skidders. While the left-handed opener Munro hit one straight to the cover, Williamson was caught plumb in-front.
However, it was the dismissal of Mitchell that once again raised the 'Spirit of Cricket' debate even though it was a clear case of an umpiring howler by TV umpire Shaun Haig.
Krunal angled one into Mitchell, who got an inside edge onto the pads. The on-field umpire adjudged him leg before and he promptly asked for DRS.
As the giant screen showed that a faint edge could be detected by Hotspot, to everyone's dismay, TV umpire Shaun Haig pressed the red button to signal out.
After that, it was left to India captain Rohit Sharma to call the player back but he didn't do so.
At 50/4, it was de Grandhomme, who took charge as he attacked Yuzvendra Chahal (0/37 in 4 overs), hitting him for a couple of sixes.
When he was just about threatening to take the game away, de Grandhomme smacked one straight to covers in skipper Rohit's hands.
India bowled 35 dot balls, which proved decisive in the end.
Young Khaleel Ahmed (2/27) also picked up two wickets in the final over. The left-arm pacer and Bhuvneshwar bowled 18 dot balls between them.