LISTEN ABOVE AS BLACKCAPS PLAYER TIM SEIFERT SPEAKS TO MARTIN DEVLIN
The Black Caps had severe objections to a controversial umpiring decision in tonight's Twenty20 against India, but they had little cause for complaint about the final result.
Daryl Mitchell's debatable dismissal via review was a big talking point from the Eden Park encounter, but it turned out not to be a defining moment, as India cruised to a seven-wicket win to level the series.
Such a result wasn't a surprise – India haven't lost back-to-back Twenty20 clashes in a series since 2015 – and it was always going to be hard for the Black Caps to back up their record win in the series opener.
However, it was all too easy for the visitors, who restricted New Zealand to 158-8 and chased it down comfortably with seven balls to spare.
The Black Caps may argue things could have been different had Mitchell not been sent on his way in controversial circumstances. Given out lbw to Krunal Pandya on just his second delivery, Mitchell quickly reviewed, indicating to captain Kane Williamson that he had hit the ball.
That was what the review seemed to show as well, with the "Hotspot" technology showing a mark on Mitchell's bat. There was no such mark when the ball passed the bat on "Snicko", but replays also seemed to confirm an inside edge.
However, Kiwi third umpire Shaun Haig didn't see enough evidence for him to overturn the decision, potentially favouring Snicko over Hotspot, and with ball-tracking showing that the delivery would have gone on to hit the stumps, Mitchell was given out.
That wasn't the end of the matter though, with Williamson throwing his hands in the air in complaint and Mitchell delaying his exit, leaving the on-field umpires to discuss. Indian captain Rohit Sharma and experienced campaigner MS Dhoni gathered around as confusion reigned, but in the end Mitchell had to respect the umpire's decision and depart with just a solitary run to his name.
His dismissal reduced the Black Caps to 43-3, after neither Tim Seifert nor Colin Munro could repeat their performances from Wellington, and Williamson soon followed, also trapped lbw by Pandya – though there was no doubt with his departure.
Colin de Grandhomme gave the innings some much-needed impetus with a 27-ball 50, but he fell one ball after raising his bat, and while Ross Taylor's 42 was handy, it came from 36 balls, as the Black Caps couldn't hit their way to a competitive total on Eden Park's small boundaries.
Just 29 runs came from the last four overs as India executed excellently at the death, and to win, the Black Caps needed to produce another brilliant start with the ball.
Unfortunately for the Kiwi contingent of the 36,961 fans at Eden Park, Rohit Sharma quickly put an end to those hopes, smacking 50 off 29 balls as he passed the injured Martin Guptill to become the highest run-scorer in Twenty20 international history.
He added 79 for the first wicket with Shikhar Dhawan, and while Dhawan's dismissal pegged India back to 88-2 after 11 overs, the required run rate was always manageable for the visitors, and Rishabh Pant (40 not out) and MS Dhoni (20 not out) sent the series to a decider in Hamilton on Sunday.