KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma outbatted New Zealand to give India an unassailable 2-0 series lead as they registered a seven-wicket victory in the second T20I in Ranchi on Friday.
Chasing 154 for victory, Rahul (65, 49b, 6x4, 2x6) and Rohit (55, 36b, 1x4, 5x6) plundered the New Zealand bowlers to all parts of the ground in a 117-run opening wicket partnership that paved the way for India’s victory. Two sixes from Rishabh Pant in the 18th over settled the issue for India as they won by seven wickets.
RAHUL, ROHIT UNSTOPPABLE
Indian openers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul were on the ball from the first delivery when Rahul scored the first boundary of the innings. Rahul was going great guns as he reached 45 off 38 balls with four boundaries and a six after 10 overs. Rohit pressed the accelerator around the 10-over mark after starting slowly and was on 30 off 22 balls with three huge sixes.
India were on track at 79/0 after 10 overs but with a lot of work still to do. Rahul blasted a rollicking flat six off Adam Milne to bring up his fifty in the 11th over as New Zealand were under tremendous pressure.
In the 12th over, Rohit and Rahul took Trent Boult to the cleaners with boundaries to deep backward point and backward square leg as India were absolutely on top.
Thereafter, it was a sustained assault on the spinners and fast bowlers, be it Mitchell Santner or Milne or Boult, it just did not matter.
Rahul was eventually out for 65 when he was caught at deep square leg by Glenn Phillips off a Tim Southee delivery but the match was well within India’s grasp.
NZ OFF TO A CRACKER
New Zealand began with a bang as Martin Guptill went berserk in the powerplay overs on a great batting pitch. Guptill cracked three boundaries and a six while Daryll Mitchell hit a couple of boundaries.
Guptill was in menacing form as he started to take on the Indian bowlers at will. When Deepak Chahar came on in the fifth over, Guptill slammed a six over long off as he began dictating terms to India.
However, in the same over, Chahar had the last laugh when going for a pull Guptill was caught at short fine leg by wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant.
New batsman Mark Chapman had a partnership going with Mitchell and played some quality shots. After a brief 31-run partnership, Chapman was the victim of Axar Patel holing out to KL Rahul at long off.
At 81/2 in 9 overs, New Zealand needed another big partnership and solidity to get themselves to an impregnable position considering the nature of the pitch.
Harshal Patel claimed Mitchell as his maiden international wicket when the latter mishit one to long off and the catch was taken by Suryakumar Yadav.
Glenn Phillips and Tim Seifert then got themselves going with the former the more aggressive of the two.
Phillips was going at a strike rate of 150 plus hoicking two sixes and smashing a boundary while the latter was snucked up by Ashwin.
The last five overs saw New Zealand lose three wickets and score a mere 28 runs as India made a terrific comeback to restrict the Kiwis to 153/6 in 20 overs.