KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer Help India Beat New Zealand in 2nd T20I

KL Rahul continued his stellar form with the bat as the Indian opener slammed yet another half-century to help the visitors beat New Zealand by seven wickets in the second T20 international against New Zealand at Eden Park in Auckland on Sunday, 26 January 2020.

India scaled the 133-run target in 17.3 overs.

Rahul was unbeaten on 57 and was well assisted by Shreyas Iyer at the other end who fell after a strokeful 44 off 33 deliveries. Shivam Dube (eight off four balls) had joined Rahul to finish things off in style.

India had lost Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli inside the powerplay.

Both Rohit and Kohli were dismissed by Tim Southee who had provided New Zealand the perfect start as the hosts aimed to defend the below-par 132/5-run total.

Rohit had departed for just eight after slamming two boundaries of the first over off Southee, but edged one to Ross Taylor in the slips off the sixth ball of the over. Kohli (11), then, headed back to the pavilion as well after edging one behind to Tim Seifert in the sixth over as India were reeling at 39/2 after 5.2 overs.

Earlier, a clinical show from Indian bowlers helped India restrict New Zealand to a below-par 132/5 in 20 overs.

Ravindra Jadeja (4-0-18-2) and Jasprit Bumrah (4-0-21-1) led the charge for India as besides the wickets, the dot balls helped India dry up the runs after New Zealand openers had provided a decent platform for themselves.

It was Jadeja whose twin strikes in the middle overs to dismiss Colin de Grandhomme and Kane Williamson in successive overs had wrecked the backbone of New Zealand’s batting order. New Zealand were reduced to 94/4 at the end of the 15th over and the hosts failed to accelerate in the slog overs.

New Zealand had reached 73/2 at the end of the 10th over but Ravindra Jadeja struck with the very second ball of the 11th over as he sent back Colin de Grandhomme with a simple caught and bowled effort. He then rounded up New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson in his following over, handing a double whammy to the hosts.

Earlier, Shardul Thakur had provided India a crucial breakthrough, dismissing Martin Guptill in the fifth over, before Shivam Dube joined in the party to get rid of Colin Munro.

The two openers had given New Zealand a decent start, helping them reach 39/0 at the end of the fifth over.

However, Guptill, the more dangerous of the two until then, fell to Thakur immediately after.

He had smashed two consecutive boundaries off Thakur in the sixth over but trying to go the distance off the last delivery of the over, the New Zealand batsman only managed to sky one that skipper Virat Kohli comfortably held on to.

Munro fell in a similar manner as well. It was in the third ball of the ninth over when Munro had just dislodged Dube for a well-timed boundary before he holed one to Kohli in the very next ball trying to up the ante.

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New Zealand captain Kane Williamson had opted to bat after winning the toss. India skipper Virat Kohli, too, said he would have opted to field first though had he won the toss.

Neither side made any changes to the line-up from the first T20I.

“Same thing, happy days (On both teams getting to do what they wanted). We had a brilliant chase the other night and we wanted to field first. We were talking in the dug-out that had me and KL batted through, we would have won with two overs to spare,” he said.

"“I think, it’s a gun wicket. We did well with the ball too in the last game. It suits better when we bowl first. We were happy with the performance, I don’t think there was any jet lag. We are going in with the same team. We want to do better in the field. We can stop extra 10 runs.”" - Virat Kohli, India captain

India had drawn first blood in the five-match T20I series as they coasted to a six-wicket win over New Zealand in the first match at Eden Park on Friday, 24 January 2020. Virat Kohli’s men-in-blue were handed a daunting challenge of scaling a 204-run target by the Kiwis and Indian batsmen did it in style — with an over to spare.

It was also the highest overseas run-chase by India in a T20 international.

The occasion was also the first time India let three opposition batsmen register half-centuries in a T20I.

Playing XI

India: Rohit Sharma, Lokesh Rahul(w), Virat Kohli(c), Shreyas Iyer, Shivam Dube, Manish Pandey, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami, Yuzvendra Chahal and Jasprit Bumrah

New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Kane Williamson(c), Colin de Grandhomme, Ross Taylor, Tim Seifert(w), Mitchell Santner, Blair Tickner, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi and Hamish Bennett

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