BlackCaps win one run Twenty20 thriller
Wed, 12 Sep 2012 5:48a.m.
Allrounder Yuvraj Singh made an impressive comeback from cancer but fell just short of a perfect ending as India lost to New Zealand by one run in a Twenty20 match.
Some in India criticized Yuvraj as a sentimental selection for both Twenty20s against touring New Zealand and the World Twenty20 next week in Sri Lanka, but he showed his enduring class by bowling two neat overs and scoring 34 off 26 balls.
Only Virat Kohli scored more for India, with 70, but their team managed only 166-4 in reply to New Zealand's 167-5 at MA Chidambaram Stadium.
New Zealand won the series 1-0 after the first Twenty20 was washed out, and earned its first win in India in the finale of its four-match tour.
Only six months ago, Yuvraj completed three cycles of chemotherapy in the United States for a rare germ cell cancer near his lungs.
The left-hander began to notice something was wrong with his health while he was spearheading India's World Cup triumph. He was named man of the tournament but eventually a golf ball-sized tumor was discovered near his lungs. His previous appearance for India was last November, and the media in the cricket-crazy country kept the public abreast of 30-year-old Yuvraj's fight against cancer.
He received a warm welcome from spectators once India elected to field, and also when he came in to bat at No.4 with the in-form Kohli.
Yuvraj hit two sixes and a four and was poised to help the side win with six runs needed off the last three balls. But he failed to read a slower delivery from James Franklin. It left new man Rohit Sharma on strike and he could hit only four runs. Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was stranded on 22 at the other end.
"The wicket slowed down and it was difficult to hit but we should have won," Dhoni said. "Virat gave us a very good start. After the 10th or 12th over it got tough. It was good to see the approach at the start of the innings which is good for us going into the (T20) World Cup.
Earlier, Brendon McCullum struck a brisk 91 for New Zealand.
McCullum, who batted at No. 3, struck 11 fours and three sixes during a 55-ball knock and was in a 90-run stand with Kane Williamson (28) that rescued New Zealand from a precarious 2-2 in the second over.
Williamson, who struck three fours off 28 balls, was content playing the supporting role before he went for a pull from outside off stump to Irfan Pathan, giving Ravichandran Ashwin a high catch at square-leg.
Captain Ross Taylor (25) and allrounder Jacob Oram (18) then came up with unbeaten knocks to boost the score in the last overs.
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