Rahul smashes 50 as India coast home in second T20 against NZ to take 2-0 lead - GulfToday

Rahul smashes 50 as India coast home in second T20 against NZ to take 2-0 lead


India’s Lokesh Rahul plays a shot against New Zealand during their second Twenty20 match at Eden Park in Auckland on Sunday. Agence France-Presse

KL Rahul’s fifty coupled with tight bowling, led India to a facile seven-wicket victory against New Zealand in the second Twenty 20 match to take a 2-0 series lead on Sunday.

The Eden Park ground, which is famous for its short boundaries and produced more than 400 runs in the match, witnessed a tedious New Zealand slumping to a modest total of 132 against a very disciplined Indian bowling attack.

Rahul smashed a half-century to lead India charge while chasing the mediocre target as tourist overhauled the target with 15 balls to spare for the loss of just three wickets.

“Another good performance today, especially with the ball,” said Indian skipper Virat Kohli who could scarcely contain his glee, exclaiming “oh happy days” when he lost the toss and heard New Zealand choose to bat first.

Bowling first was India’s strength, he said.

“We demanded the bowlers stood up and took control of what we wanted to do out there, and our line and lengths... was a very good feature.

India got a scare when Tim Southee got rid of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli cheaply nevertheless chasing a small target. But a resilient Rahul and confident Shreyas Iyer, who set up India’s six-wicket win in game one, anchored a the ship with a comfortable 87-run partnership to ensure an easy victory.

Iyer was eventually dismissed for 44 while Rahul was unbeaten on 57. Despite the comprehensive defeat for New Zealand, captain Kane Williamson stood by his decision to bat first.

“India were outstanding with the ball so it was tough,” he said.

“But there’ve been good bits in both of these games without putting it all together.

“On a small ground we knew if we were able to take early wickets and try and build pressure, like they did, then you never know.”

For a brief moment at the start of the game, it looked as if Williamson may have made the right choice when Martin Guptill smacked sixes off consecutive deliveries from Shardul Thakur in the opening over.

But for much of the remainder of the innings it was the Indian bowlers who were in charge.

When Guptill was dismissed for 33 he had faced 20 deliveries and only scored off 10 of them.

Tim Seifert (33 not out) and Colin Munro (26) were the only other batsmen to pass 20, while bowling for India, left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja had figures of two for 18 off his four overs.

Jasprit Bumrah with one for 21 and Mohammed Shami with none for 22 off their four overs were also miserly.

The third match in the series is in Hamilton on Wednesday.

Agence France-Presse

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