2nd T20I: K. L. Rahul powers India to 7 wicket win over New Zealand
Auckland: K. L. Rahul’s unbeaten half century (57 off 50) helped India secure a 7 wicket win against New Zealand in the 2nd T20 International here on Sunday.
Shreyas Iyer (44 off 33) was the partner in crime for Rahul after India lost the big wickets of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohil. India now have a 2-0 advantage in the five match series.
Earlier, on-song Indian bowlers, led by Ravindra Jadeja, stifled New Zealand batters as they laboured to 132/5 in the allotted 20 overs.
Jadeja returned best figures of 2/18 in his quota of four overs as Jasprit Bumrah (1/21 in 4 overs), Shardul Thakur (1/21 in 2 overs) and Shivam Dube 1/16 in 2 overs) got one wicket apiece. Mohammed Shami was wicketless but gave away just 22 runs in his four overs and bowled superbly to deny Kiwis any advantage.
Tim Seifert top-scored with an unbeaten 33 while opener Martin Guptill also contributed with as many runs before falling. Skipper Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor failed to middle the ball and looked off colour after they asked India to field first.
Guptill and Colin Munro gave the hosts a good start by adding 48 runs together for the opening wicket. Guptill tried to go for one too many and holed out to Indian skipper Virat Kohli at mid-off helping Thakur with a wicket.
Williamson joined Colin Munro in the middle but once Guptill fell, the scoring rate slowed down as both batsmen struggled to get going against spin and Shami's searing pace.
Munro (26) was removed by Dube as the batsman tried to change gears and was caught at extra cover by Kohli in the ninth over.
A Shami bouncer also hit Williamson on the helmet but the Black Caps' premier batsman seemed to shrug it off. Williamson (14) did not last long though, finding Yuzvendra Chahal at deep square leg as he tried to sweep Jadeja in the 13th over.
Just before Williamson, Colin de Grandhomme (3) was caught and bowled by Jadeja as New Zealand found themselves on 94/4 after 15 overs with the experienced Taylor and Seifert at the crease.
Seifert smashed Chahal for a four and a six in the 16th over as he looked to accelerate, but Jadeja was on top his game, as the all-rounder bowled an excellent 17th, conceding just six runs.
It was relentless pressure from India as Bumrah followed it up with a magnificient 18th over, conceding just three runs but the highlight was Kohli dropping a sitter at long on in the third ball.
Taylor was the batsman who got a second life, but the seasoned campaigner failed to make the most of it as Shami and Bumrah bowled near-perfect last two overs with just 14 runs coming off them.
(With inputs from IANS)