India took an unassailable lead in the three matche – T20I series against New Zealand in the 2nd match at JSCA Ranchi Cricket stadium. India’s leadership duo, captain Rohit Sharma and Vice-captain KL Rahul, led the team to a comfortable 7-wicket victory.
A dull Kiwi promise
After winning the toss for the second consecutive time, Rohit Sharma invited the New Zealanders to bat first. The openers, unlike the last match, were off to a flier. New Zealand garnered as many as 64 runs in the powerplay for the loss of experienced Martin Guptill.
India regained control after the initial juggernaut from the Kiwi batters. Ravi Ashwin and Axar Patel were disciplined in the middle overs, on a good batting track, with dew starting to come in. The left-arm orthodox went for a mere 26 in 4 and claimed the wicket of Mark Chapman.
Ravi Ashwin continued his good from Jaipur to Ranchi. He gave less than five runs per over.
In an attempt to accelerate, the Kiwi batters panicked and lost the plot towards the end of the innings. India restricted New Zealand for a mere 153, thanks to a disciplined performance in the death. Glenn Phillips, 34 (21), was the highest run-scorer for the New Zealand team.
A dream debut
The highlight of the first innings was the debutant, Harshal Patel. The 30 year old continued his purple patch as he took two crucial wickets for 25 runs in his first international fixture. The IPL 2021 purple cap holder replaced Mohammad Siraj from the first T20 international.
Harshal Patel joined the list of Barinder Sran and Navdeep Saini to become the third Indian pacer to win the Player of the match on his debut. Earlier this year, Patel took a record-breaking 32 wickets in the 14th season of the Indian Premier League.
The 117 run opening run stand between India’s openers took the game away from New Zealand. The Rohit – Rahul duo dominated and nullified the Kiwi bowling attack in the powerplay. As Tim Southee brought in frequent bowling changes, the openers smartly saw off the bowlers as they scored at a little more than 7 runs per over in the mandatory batting powerplay.
With the end of the powerplay overs, the run rate came down as spinners attacked from both ends. Right when it seemed that New Zealand might attempt to stage a comeback, Rohit Sharma hit Santner for two sixes. The much-needed acceleration in the 10th over more or less sealed the game for the Men in blue.
KL Rahul lost his wicket after a well-made 65 off 49 deliveries. Skipper Southee led a mini-comeback by chipping in two more crucial wickets. However, the difference was cut short by enough margin for the middle order to end the formalities.
Alike, the first T20I, Rishabh Pant ended the match for India, this time with a trademark ‘one-handed six’.
The new captain-coach duo would started their tenure with a series victory. The last T20 international will be played on the 21st of November at Eden Gardens in Kolkata.
Feature image source – Cricbuzz