New Zealand’s horror run at the Eden Park in Auckland continued. Kane Williamson’s men have now lost nine out of their last T20Is at the venue. Following the drubbing in the series opener against India, they slumped to another defeat, this time by seven wickets. The Men in Blue, on the other hand, clinched the win with 15 balls to spare. Most importantly, they have taken a 2-0 lead.
The Black Caps batted first and had a reasonable start. Martin Guptill (33) and Colin Munro (26) notched 48 runs in the powerplay. The duo had set the platform for the rest of the batting lineup. But once Guptill fell prey to Shardul Thakur, the innings completely lost momentum. In their last 14 overs, the home team could only add 84 runs, though they didn’t lose a whole lot of wickets.
Kane Williamson had a painstaking stay in the middle with a 20-ball 14. Even Ross Taylor crawled to 18 off 24 before Jasprit Bumrah nipped him out. It was Tim Seifert’s 26-ball 33 with two sixes and a four that guided the Kiwis to respectability. After huffing and puffing, New Zealand ended with 132 for five. For India, Ravindra Jadeja was the standout bowler as he finished with a spell of 4-0-18-2.
Clinical Rahul and Iyer
Rohit Sharma started India’s chase with a couple of fours of Tim Southee. To his dismay, he perished in the same over. Virat Kohli couldn’t make an impact and was caught down the leg-side off Southee. From there on, Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul steadied the ship. By the end of the 10th over, the visitors ambled to 60 at a run-ball. On a slow deck, Ish Sodhi and Mitchell Santner bowled in tandem.
With 73 needed off the last 10 overs, Iyer and Rahul started stepping on the gas and brought the required run-rate down. Rahul got to a well-crafted half-century off 43 balls and carried on from where he left in Friday’s match. He stayed unbeaten on 57 off 50 with three fours and two sixes, and saw his team through to the victory. Shreyas Iyer also backed up his match-winning 58* with 44.
KL Rahul, the Player of the Match, said
Obviously different circumstances, the target was different and the pitch was different from what we played on a couple of days before. I knew what I had to do, I couldn’t play the same way. I had a different responsibility. We lost Rohit and Kohli early, so I had to stay in there. I don’t really know what to say about that.
The understanding of my game and reading my game has helped me to be more consistent. I always need to keep the team ahead and what the team requires. I have come up with the right shots and the right answers. That’s been my mantra over the last few games.
Virat Kohli, India’s captain, said
I think we had another good performance today, especially with the ball. The bowlers stood up and took control of what we wanted to do out there. Sticking to one side of the wicket was a very good feature for us as a team to restrict a good New Zealand team to 132 which I think was below par.
The low total led us to bat in that manner but we thought the pitch was good for 160 in the first half. We understood the angles of the field better, how the pitch was playing and I had to think on my feet as a captain. The ball gripped for the spinners and I think Jadeja was outstanding.
Chahal was a banker. Bumrah was amazing as well, and Shami and Shardul and Shivam making very good contributions with the ball but I think we backed it up in the field more importantly.
Kane Williamson, New Zealand’s captain, said
It was a tough day. The wicket was quite different from the first game. I think as a batting unit we needed another 15 or 20 to make it a little bit more competitive. But credit to the way India bowled. They’re a class side in all departments and they put us under pressure in that middle period.
Even though we only had 130 on the board on a small ground, we still knew if we were able to take early wickets and build pressure like they did, then you never really know. But they showed their experience and took the game much deeper than we were able to in the first innings and they were very clinical.
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