India outclass New Zealand again and go 2-0 up in Twenty20 series
Rahul hits second half century in a row as captain Kohli hails his bowling unit at Eden Park
India again outclassed New Zealand as they coasted to a seven-wicket victory in the second Twenty20 match in Auckland on Sunday.
On the Eden Park ground renowned for its short boundaries, and which produced more than 400 runs in the opening on Friday, New Zealand struggled with the bat and posted a meagre 132-5, batting first against a disciplined Indian attack.
KL Rahul cracked his second half-century in as many matches to lead India's reply in which they reeled in the target for the loss of only three wickets and with 15 balls to spare and go 2-0 up in the series.
Captain Virat Kohli was delighted with his team's bowling unit. "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."
Kohli could scarcely contain his glee when he lost the toss and heard his New Zealand opposite Kane Williamson choosing to bat first.
"Oh happy days," he exclaimed, adding that bowling first is India's strength and that was the call he would have made had he won the toss.
Even with a low target to chase, India had an early blip when Tim Southee removed Rohit Sharma for eight and Kohli for 11.
But Rahul and Shreyas Iyer, who set up India's six-wicket win in game one, were rarely troubled in an 87-run partnership to ensure victory. Iyer was eventually dismissed for 44 while Rahul was unbeaten on 57 from 50 balls.
"I knew I couldn't play the same way I played a couple days ago," said man of the match Rahul, who cracked 56 off 27 balls in the first game. "I had a different responsibility today. We lost our senior players Rohit and Virat early so I had to stay in there and make sure I finish the game.
"I think the understanding of my game and how I'm reading the situation and reading the game has gotten better for me."
New Zealand butchered one chance when Blair Tickner was well wide with his throw at the stumps when Rahul was stranded out of his crease after abandoning a quick single.
For a brief moment at the start of the game, it looked as if Williamson may have made the right choice when Martin Guptill smacked sixes off consecutive deliveries from Shardul Thakur in the opening over.
But for much of the remainder of the innings it was the Indian bowlers who were in charge. When Guptill was dismissed for 33 he had faced 20 deliveries and only scored off 10 of them.
Tim Seifert (33 not out) and Colin Munro (26) were the only other batsmen to pass 20 while bowling for India, left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja had figures of 2-18 off his four overs.
Jasprit Bumrah with 1-21 and Mohammed Shami with 0-22 off their four overs were also miserly.
"It was a tough day," said Williamson. "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."
The third match of the series is in Hamilton on Wednesday.
Updated: January 26, 2020 02:59 PM