Lokesh Rahul continued his good form with the bat with yet another half century as India comfortably defeated New Zealand by seven wickets at Eden Park to go 2-0 up in the five game T20 series on Sunday.
Here are our talking points from the game.
1. Black Caps failed to capitalize on the start given by Guptill
Martin Guptill’s 20 ball 33 gave New Zealand a good start after they had won the toss and chosen to bat first. But the rest of the batsmen were unable to make use of the solid foundation he had laid upfront. New Zealand were 56 after 6.3 overs but only managed to crawl to 132/5 at the end of their allotted 20. Even worse, they managed only 22 runs of the last four overs- a figure that could have been even worse if not for Tim Seifert’s outrageous six over extra cover off the penultimate ball of the innings.
Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor, both of who had struck at nearly 200 in the first T20, simply struggled to get bat on ball and scored 32 runs off 44 balls between them without managing even a single boundary.
2. Colin de Grandhomme fails again
He fell for a two ball duck in the first T-20, and Colin de Grandhomme again failed to impress at Eden Park. Promoted ahead of Ross Taylor, he scored 3 (5) before spooning a simple return catch to Ravindra Jadeja. De Grandhomme is the designated power hitter in the New Zealand middle order and his failures have not helped the Black Caps’ cause in this series.
3. Jadeja and Bumrah strangulate the Black Caps
Jadeja’s fine spell of 2/18 saw India choke the Black Caps in the middle stages of the innings while Jasprit Bumrah was again his usual miserly self at the death. Between them, the duo had combined figures of 3/40 in 8 overs and were the architects of India’s triumph.
4. Kl Rahul and Shreyas Iyer shine with the bat
For the second time in three nights, Kl Rahul and Shreyas Iyer both played vital knocks to guide India home. Their 86 run partnership for the third wicket eased any fears India may have had after the early dismissals of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli.
Iyer again showcased his talent with a fine 44 (33), and it left many pundits wondering whether India’s World Cup would have ended differently had he had batted at 4 during the tournament.
5. Black Caps fail to run Rahul out.
New Zealand had two wonderful opportunities to run KL Rahul out, but rather inexplicably for a team that sets such high fielding standards, messed both of them up. Rahul is a class batsmen who doesn’t really need a second invitation and his 57 saw India home with two and a half overs to spare. It was also the country’s Republic Day (January 26), and this was a fine gift from her cricketers.
The third T20 will be played at Seddon Park in Hamilton on Wednesday.