Cricket - Featured - January 26, 2020

Rahul, Iyer star as India go up 2-0

After an exceptional performance from the Indian bowlers, KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer set up yet another convincing win for India.

KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer finished the chase comfortably as India go 2-0 up in the five-match series. Rahul and Iyer repeated their heroics just as in the previous game. However, it was the Indian bowlers who set up the win for India. 

New Zealand won the toss and opted to bat first at the Eden Park. Martin Guptill and Colin Munro looked decent upfront. The Indian pacers, however, did not let them last long. Both the openers were sent back as the score read 68/2. Some top-notch bowling ensured that the Kiwis had no chance whatsoever to stage a comeback. They were furthermore reduced to 125/5. Big names such as de Grandhomme, Williamson and Ross Taylor all failed to fire. They were eventually restricted to 132/5 at the end of 20 overs.

While the pacers maintained control throughout, spinner Ravindra Jadeja was the pick of the bowlers. Jadeja ended with figures of 2/18. Not only was he economical, but also picked the big wickets of Williamson and Grandhomme. As a result of disciplined bowling, New Zealand only managed a below par score at the Eden Park. 

Rahul and Iyer continue fine run with the bat

Defending a low score against a strong Indian batting line-up is always a difficult task. So was the case for New Zealand. Tim Southee, however, did manage to give the hosts some hope in the powerplay. Southee accounted for the big wickets of Rohit (8) and Kohli (11) early in the innings. India was thereby reduced to 39/2 within the first six overs. It was up to the youngsters to do the job for India with the experienced players gone.

Rahul, Iyer star as India go up 2-0
KL Rahul en-route his unbeaten 57 at the Eden Park.

KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer did exactly what was required. The duo put up a match-winning partnership for India. As the wicket was slightly on the slower side, both of them played with responsibility. Ever since his comeback, Rahul has been at his very best and it was no different today. Rahul scored his second fifty on the trott, carrying his tremendous form with the bat. While he was explosive in the previous game, Rahul played with patience and responsibility in this game. His 57 run knock came off 50 balls as he remained unbeaten. The ability to adapt and play as per the situation has shown his skill and temperament.

On the other hand, Shreyas too continued to do well at No.4 for India. He scored 44 runs off 33 balls, missing out on a half-century. However, he played a key role in the 86-run stand with Rahul that won the game for India. Given his consistent performances, Iyer is probably the solution to India’s problems with the No.4 slot. 

India has never beaten New Zealand in a T20I series. This series, however, seems to be history in the making. India is now 2-0 up in the five-match series. Therefore, the 3rd T20I will be a must-win encounter for New Zealand to stay alive in the series. On the other hand, India will look to seal the deal and win it’s first ever T20I series against the Kiwis. 

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