Twitter Reactions: Clinical India thump New Zealand on a slow Auckland pitch to go 2-0 up

Twitter Reactions: Clinical India thump New Zealand on a slow Auckland pitch to go 2-0 up

Rahul notched up yet another half-century continuing his good form in the format.

KL Rahul
KL Rahul. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

The second T20I between India and New Zealand turned out to be a complete contrast compared to the series opener. It was the same venue where the visitors had chased down 204 runs easily. But the game was played on the same pitch and it slowed down considerably from the word go. The ball wasn’t coming on to the bat at all and the Kiwis suffered the most as India strangled them down with some superb bowling and then chased the score comfortably in the end.

After surprisingly opting to bat first, New Zealand’s opening pair Martin Guptill and Colin Munro found it tough to get going. The duo though hung in there and scored runs at a relatively fair clip. Guptill looked in good nick and played some absolutely fluent strokes to race away to 33. But he was holed out off Shardul Thakur in the sixth over as New Zealand lost their first wicket on 48.

From here on, the spinners and the bowlers with variations took control of the proceedings to stifle the hosts. Munro never looked settled in the middle and the same was the case with Kane Williamson. In an attempt to up the ante, Munro lost his wicket to Shivam Dube after which Ravindra Jadeja was introduced into the attack. It was the perfect pitch for a bowler like him and the left-arm spinner made the most of it.

Jadeja got the better of Colin de Grandhomme and then plucked the big fish Williamson to leave the Kiwis reeling at 81/4 in the 13th over. His figures of 2/18 led to India taking complete control of the match and the likes of Ross Taylor also couldn’t get going when it needed the most. However, Tim Seifert, batting out of his position, at six, showed his class and eked out some crucial runs.

His unbeaten 33 off 26 balls helped New Zealand to get to 132 runs after 20 overs and the score was clearly under par given the short dimensions of the ground.

Rahul and Iyer steer India home

The target was never going to challenge India with their strong batting line-up. But they lost Rohit Sharma early in the first over itself to Tim Southee. Virat Kohli and KL Rahul then, much like the series opener, stitched a partnership even as they too found it tough to middle the ball. The former, moreover, was dismissed for just 11 runs off Southee to trigger panic among the Indian fans.

But Rahul and Shreyas Iyer had different ideas. Rather they were too slow at one stage and the required run rate had crept up close to 8 with the spinners bowling well. Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi didn’t give an inch to the batsmen. But once the in-form batting duo was settled, they took the liking to Blair Tickner and Hamish Bennett.

Some glorious shots were played from both the batsmen and while Rahul got to his second consecutive half-century, Iyer got out on 44 with the victory in sight. India completed the chase in the 18th over of the innings to take a 2-0 lead in the five-match series. For the Kiwis, only Southee shined in the field and they will have to come up with a much-improved effort to make a comeback in the series.

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