India’s bowlers highlighted the balance of their side as they set up an easy seven-wicket win over New Zealand in the second T20I at Eden Park in Auckland to take a 2-0 lead in the five-match series.
KL Rahul (57 not out) and Shreyas Iyer (44) then marshalled the run chase as they helped their side to reach 135-3 with 15 balls to spare, chasing New Zealand’s 132-5.
The hosts had posted an impressive 203-5 in the first game on Friday but were unable to repeat that on a pitch that had slowed down considerably in the intervening 48 hours and India’s bowlers put them under pressure throughout the innings.
Ravindra Jadeja took two wickets with his left-arm spin and conceded just 18 runs from four overs.
Earlier, the home batsman struggled a bit on a slow wicket, which was also used in the opening T20I on Friday, but opener Martin Guptill (33) and wicket-keeper batsman Tim Seifert (33) helped the Kiwis cross the 130-run mark.
Meanwhile, Twitter exploded after the Men in Blue registered another convincing win and got one step closer towards clinching the T20I series against the Kiwis. Let us take a look at a select few tweets from experts, former and current cricketers:
Back the Blues!
A win to be proud of. Outstanding again from @klrahul11. He loves this format.
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) January 26, 2020
Republic Day couldn't have been better. Thank you, Skipper!
Batting, bowling or fielding... India right up there in all departments
The support at Eden Park for India makes it seem like Eden Gardens. Amazing consistency from KL Rahul , and Shreyas Iyer getting better with each game. But a special mention to the bowlers today- Shami, Bumrah , Jadeja were top class. Clinical win #INDvsNZ pic.twitter.com/hhIcoMzLP7
— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) January 26, 2020
India don't just chase well
Over 300 runs for KL Rahul in his last 5 T20 innings. Very impressed with the versatility that he has shown and adapted to different positions and roles. Great support from Shreyas Iyer. But this win was set up bey the bowlers who did not let NZ bataman to get away #IndvsNZ pic.twitter.com/uHTMc0XSKa — VVS Laxman (@VVSLaxman281) January 26, 2020
Fine knocks by Rahul and Iyer, but my MOM today @imjadeja for choking the New Zealand batting, giving away very few runs and picking up wickets too. Agree?
— Cricketwallah (@cricketwallah) January 26, 2020
Going by current form, they'll clinch the series in next game itself
Clinical from India. 2-0 and now we can seriously start thinking of a series win. This was a top effort.@klrahul11 is easily one of the best T20 players in the world on current form. Excellent from @ShreyasIyer15 yet again. — Boria Majumdar (@BoriaMajumdar) January 26, 2020
Talk about stepping up to the challenge
Rahul and Shreyas, once again. Rahul is constantly showing signs of maturity. Handling different roles and situations in style. Very impressive. And Iyer is also reminding us why India should’ve invested a bit more in him after he started strongly in ODI. Missed a trick. #NZvInd
— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) January 26, 2020
Turbanator's lovin' this Indian outfit!
That's a different but valid way of looking at it
— Gaurav Kalra (@gauravkalra75) January 26, 2020
If one guy fails, the others step up. Top class team, this
Yes the target was not a tough one. But, losing Rohit and Kohli early always have put India under tremendous pressure. Good to see that this jodi of #KLRahul and #ShreyasIyer winning matches with calmness and aggression. #INDvsNZ #NZvIND pic.twitter.com/6ksVlGm7eU — R P Singh रुद्र प्रताप सिंह (@rpsingh) January 26, 2020
With inputs from Reuters
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Conway improved on his previous high score of 65 in T20Is, coming to the crease when New Zealand were 11-2 and leaving unbeaten when they were 184/5 after winning the toss and batting first.
Conway blazed his way to a 59-ball unbeaten 99 and powered the Black Caps to a resounding win in the first of the five T20 International against Australia.
The IPL is likely to start in the second week of April and its knockout matches may stretch till early June, potentially clashing with New Zealand's first Test in England, which starts on 2 June at the Lord's.