Rains stayed away to help Yuvraj Singh stage one of the most remarkable comebacks in the history of world sport and the southpaw will remember MAC Stadium for ever, and so will his fans in Chennai.
It was also a return game for local lad Laxmipathy Balaji, who played for India after a gap of three years. Yuvraj bowled two overs, conceding 14 runs and scored 34 .
India were chasing a moderate target of 167 and given the formidable batting line-up, should have easily finished the match but the brilliant spells by Kiwi pacers James Franklin (2-26) and Jacob Oram changed the whole equation of the game.
Virat Kohli, in terrific form, opened the innings with his Delhi mate Gautam Gambhir as Virender Sehwag was ruled out due to flu but change in batting order did not make any difference as the right-hander kept plundering runs before offering a catch to substitute Tim Southee.
Gambhir, highest run scorer for India in T20s, once again failed to come up with a big one. Another left-hander, Suresh Raina (27), one of the best players in this format, added 60 runs with Kohli to help India take the upper hand in the match.
Raina’s was a soft dismissal as he offered a simple catch to Ross Taylor in covers which brought Yuvraj to the crease. His determination 34-run knock on will be remembered for long. He did his part but failed to get those 13 runs with Dhoni in the last over.
Earlier, Indian pacers did well to restrict New Zealand to 167 for five. The visitors suffered an early jolt but Brendon McCullum and Kane Williamson held fort with a 90-run partnership for the third wicket and rescued New Zealand from a slump.