Colin Munro said he was relishing batting top of the order after his blistering century powered New Zealand to a series-levelling win against India in the second Twenty20 international on Saturday.
Munro, a middle-order batsman who was promoted to open the innings in India, smashed an unbeaten 58-ball 109 to propel the Kiwis to 196-2 in Rajkot.
Kiwi fast bowler Trent Boult then claimed four wickets to restrict India to 156/7 despite a valiant 42-ball 65 from Indian skipper Virat Kohli.
But it was Munro’s supreme batting show that set up New Zealand’s 40-run win after their opening loss to India in the three-match series.
“I love batting at the top of the order, getting the team off to a flyer with Guppy [Martin Guptill],” the left-handed batsman said after receiving the man of the match award.
“The way I bat is the same every time, whether I’m chasing 200 or 120. Go out there, stay still and try and hit fours and sixes,” he added.
Munro put on 105 runs for the opening wicket with Guptill, to lay a solid foundation after the Kiwis elected to bat first on a wicket that promised runs.
Munro made the most of his two reprieves, on 45 and 79, to register his second T20 ton – in just 54 balls.
Riding his luck
“Few chances went my way, but that’s T20 cricket, you need luck in your way. Felt good with the bat, but had been getting out at funny times,” Munro, who made an impact in the preceding ODI series that the Kiwis lost 2-1, said.
Munro also got the wicket of Shreyas Iyer, who scored 23, with his right-arm medium pace to make India slip further after Boult rattled the Indian top-order.
Boult got openers Shikhar Dhawan bowled, for one, and Sharma caught behind, for five, to leave India struggling at 11-2 after two overs.
Kohli tried his level best during his fifty-plus partnerships with Iyer 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.
The hosts though were always left playing catching up after Munro and Guptill, who scored 45, hammered the Indian bowling.
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.
Debutant paceman Mohammed Siraj gave away 53 runs in four overs but got his maiden international wicket in skipper Kane Williamson for 12.
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.
“I thought New Zealand were really good with the bat early on,” said Kohli.
“We didn’t take our chances, yes, but at one stage they were looking to get 235-240 and credit to (Jasprit) Bumrah and Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar Kumar) to pull things back.”
The action now moves to the deciding match in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday.