New Zealand vs India: Jadeja, Rahul shine as clinical India demolish hosts
- Efficient batting display followed India's clinical bowling performance as India complete Auckland double.
New Zealand: 132/5
Martin Guptill 33(20), Tim Siefert 33*(26); Ravindra Jadeja 2/18
KL Rahul 57(50), Shreyas Iyer 44(33); Tim Southee 2/20
MoM: KL Rahul
For detailed scorecard and match commentary click here.
Sides batting first in Twenty20 cricket often face the repercussions of being overly aggressive in pursuit of gigantic totals, and ultimately end up with paltry numbers on the board. India's clinical bowling display ensured New Zealand were restricted to a meager 132 before KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer crafted valiant knocks to anchor the chase, guiding India home rather comfortably with 15 balls to spare.
Early breakthroughs were of paramount importance for New Zealand, and Rohit Sharma's cheap departure lifted their spirits. India had barely recuperated when Tim Southee strangled Virat Kohli down leg, reducing the visitors to 39/2. The ball was gripping slightly and hence New Zealand still fancied their chances in the otherwise lopsided contest.
The Men in Blue's emerging white-ball powerhouses, Rahul and Iyer joined forces to weather the storm. The proactive duo maneuvered the strike effectively, while also survived through few horrible communication breakdowns. New Zealand failed to mount any pressure henceforth with boundaries trickling in. Leggie Ish Sodhi delayed the inevitable by outfoxing Iyer at the eleventh hour, but Shivam Dubey's mammoth six finished proceedings.
Since India comfortably overhauled New Zealand's humongous 203 in Auckland's series opener, it was quite predictable that the hosts will come out all guns blazing and pursue a superlative first-innings total. But considering India's bowling efficiency, to do so was never going to be a cakewalk.
Martin Guptill laid down the marker straightaway hoisting consecutive maximums off Shardul Thakur. The rookie quick dealt severe punishment before having the last laugh as Guptill miscued an ambitious hoick. Colin Munro threatened with some improvisation but perished soon, toe-edging Dubey's half-volley to cover.
Ravindra Jadeja further truncated New Zealand's momentum, weaving his magic over Colin de Grandhomme and skipper Kane Williamson. With the scoreboard reading 90/4 after 14 overs, anything above 150 looked improbable from that stage. However, the Kiwis surrendered against India's death bowling prowess, only managing an exiguous target eventually.
I think we backed it up with another good performance. The bowlers stood up and took control. It was a very good feature for us as team. That helped us to restrict New Zealand to such a low total. We understood the angles of the field better. The surface gripped a bit. When you have a complete performance like that, it helps. This same side has won us two games. We need to bring our A game again and we are up for the challenge, winning captain Virat Kohli quipped.
Published 26 Jan 2020, 16:12 IST