Opener Colin Munro hit a blistering century to help New Zealand down India by 40 runs in the second Twenty20 International and level the series at 1-1 on Saturday.
Munro smashed an unbeaten 58-ball 109 to propel the Kiwis to 196-2 and in reply, the hosts could only manage 156-7 at the batting-friendly Rajkot stadium.
Kiwi fast bowler Trent Boult claimed four wickets to flatten the Indian chase despite a valiant 42-ball 65 from Indian skipper Virat Kohli, who got little help from the other end.
Boult hurt India’s reply with his left-arm pace to get two wickets in his very first over and send the openers trudging back to the pavilion.
The left-handed Shikhar Dhawan was bowled for one while Sharma, who scored five, was caught behind as India were left struggling at 11-2 after two overs.
Kiwi bowlers kept chipping away with regular wickets as Munro, who bowls right-arm medium pace, also contributed with Shreyas Iyer’s crucial scalp.
Kohli tried his level best during his fifty-plus partnerships with Iyer, who made 23, and then Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who scored 49, but the climbing run-rate got to him. The star batsman finally fell to Mitchell Santner’s left-arm spin and with him India’s hopes faded away.
Earlier, Munro put on 105 runs for the opening wicket with Martin Guptill (45), to lay a solid foundation after the Kiwis elected to bat first. Guptill hit Yuzvendra Chahal for two sixes and a four in the leg-spinner’s first over to make his intent clear.
Chahal finally got his revenge after denying Guptill, who smashed 3 fours and 3 sixes in his 41-ball knock, a fifty but the damage had already been done. Munro made the most of his two reprieves, on 45 and 79, to register his second T20 ton – in just 54 balls – and pulverise the Indian bowling attack.
Debutant paceman Mohammed Siraj gave away 53 runs in four overs but got his maiden international wicket in skipper Kane Williamson for 12. The left-handed Munro, who hit 7 fours and 7 sixes, and Tom Bruce, who scored 18, signed off with a 56-run unbeaten stand for the third wicket.
The action now moves to the third and deciding match in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday.