New Zealand vs India 2nd T20I, As it happened: KL Rahul (57*) and Shreyas Iyer (44) helped India complete another successful chase in Auckland. The visitors lost Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli early but the two in-form batsmen took it upon themselves and took India past the finish line. Earlier in the day, Ravindra Jadeja shone with 2 wickets while Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah came up with economical spells to hurt New Zealand.
New Zealand vs India: India tightened their grip on the T20I series with a seven-wicket win over New Zealand in the second match after their bowlers stifled the hosts on a pocket-sized Eden Park here on Sunday.
Boasting a formidable batting line-up, chasing 133 proved to be a cakewalk for the visitors on a pitch that was slightly on the slower side. The very short boundary ensured the match ended with as many as 15 balls to spare.
KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer, heroes of India’s win in the 1st T20I, played starring roles yet again on Sunday helping their team chase down the target of 133 to take a 2-0 lead in the 5-match series. After an inspired bowling performance from their bowlers, Rahul and Iyer ensured that India survived the early hiccups to complete a comfortable 7-wicket victory over the hosts.
However, India’s chase wasn’t off to the greatest of starts as Rohit Sharma (8), after hitting 2 fours, fell on the last ball of the 1st over offering a simple catch to Ross Taylor in the slips off Tim Southee. Southee soon returned to get the prized scalp of Virat Kohli in the 6th over getting his caught down the leg-side by the wicketkeeper Tim Seifert for 11.
From then on, last match heroes KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer combined to steady the chase as the duo found out that shot-making was not so easy on this pitch. While taking full toll on the bad deliveries from the Kiwis, Rahul and Iyer also had the luxury to hold back given the asking rate wasn’t out of control at any point in the innings.
But in the 15th over of the innings, Rahul suddenly exploded, hammering Hamish Bennett for a 6 and a 4 off successive balls to bring up his 2nd fifty in succession off just 43 balls. Next ball, Benett overcompensated with 5 above-the-shoulder wides bringing the required-run-rate below 6.
Iyer departed for 44 but Rahul went on to comfort the chase with an unbeaten knock of 57 off 50 balls. Shivam Dube hit the winning runs and remained not out on 8.
Earlier, Kane Williamson won the toss and had no hesitation in opting to bat first – a decision which seemed to have hurt them on a slow track as the Indian bowlers struck at regular intervals to restrict the Kiwis for a modest 132/5.
Opener Martin Guptill (33 off 20) and Tim Seifert (33* off 26) top-scored for New Zealand as continuous use of slower variations from the Indians kept on inducing mistakes from the opposition batsmen.
After Guptill and Colin Munro (26) had put up 48 runs for the 1st wicket, Shardul Thakur (1/21) got rid of the former to give India the first wicket. Exploiting the slowness offered by the pitch, Ravindra Jadeja emerged as the pick of the bowlers with a return of 2/18 from his 4 overs
Yuzvendra Chahal (0/33) and Shivam Dube (1/16) combined well after the powerplay, while Ravindra Jadeja was the stand out bowler with figures of 2/18 from four overs bagging the key wickets of Colin de Grandhomme (3) and Williamson (14).
Much was expected from Ross Taylor (18) but the right-hander struggled for timing throughout his 24-ball stay ultimately falling to the guile of Bumrah. If it had not been for Seifert’s 2 sixes at the death, New Zealand’s score would have been far less respectable.
India now need just one win in the remaining 3 matches to bag the T20I series.
Highlights: New Zealand vs India
- With the convincing 7-wicket victory, India took a 2-0 lead in the five-match T20I series.
- Rahul 57* continued his sublime form and notched up his second consecutive fifty during the run chase.
- In-form Iyer scored 44 off 33 balls, including 3 sixes and 1 four.
- India won the match with 15 balls to spare.