Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - Rahul, Rohit fifties seal T20I series for India. Rahul and Rohit put on a 117-run opening stand in the chase.
Rahul and Rohit put on a 117-run opening stand in the chase.
In a nutshell
India cruised to their fifth consecutive win in a bilateral T20I series at home with a seven-wicket win over New Zealand. Chasing a below-par 154 in Ranchi with dew galore, India stuttered in the middle, but led by fifties from Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul finished strongly with 17 balls to spare on Friday (November 19).
A tale of two powerplays
Despite the dew, despite the batting conditions favouring the batsmen even further in the second innings, India's openers managed 46 in their six overs. Skipper Tim Southee played his hand in keeping proceedings in check, conceding just 11 in the two overs bowled in the first six, while Rohit went after Boult for a second time in two games.
New Zealand's openers, meanwhile, had attacked from the opening over, taking Bhuvneshwar Kumar for the most number of runs in the first over of a home T20I with 14, despite him swinging the ball both ways and troubling Guptill. Axar Patel and R Ashwin were introduced in the powerplay, but Guptill and Daryl Mitchell kept going strong with 42 in the first four overs. Guptill became the highest run-scorer in T20 Internationals en route his 15-ball 31 before falling in the fifth over. Despite that, New Zealand finished with their highest powerplay score for New Zealand against the hosts in India.
How did India go about the chase?
India were a tad behind the chase in comparison to how New Zealand went about attacking the Indian bowlers in the first 10 overs. Mitchell Santner was instrumental in keeping Rohit and Rahul in check conceding just six runs in his first two overs, bowling good lengths and a tad fuller at times. New Zealand did what India did, pulling things back after the powerplay overs with spin with Ish Sodhi and Santner with India unable to score a boundary for four overs since the fifth over.
How did they turn things around then?
The ball was changed in the ninth over due to the seam coming apart. That was the turning point of the game as the Indian openers made the most of the hard ball. Rohit went after Santner in the next over to kick off a counterattack. The first ball was tonked to cow corner for a six as was the fourth ball. Rohit was once again lucky to be dropped by Boult on 29. He made New Zealand pay, not just getting to a fifty, but taking on the role of the aggressor after Rahul's departure. Rohit was happy to play second fiddle to Rahul until the latter was sent back by Southee for 65, ending the 117-run opening stand. Rohit fell to Southee for a 36-ball 55, but India were too comfortably placed by then for a change of events.
What hurt New Zealand the most?
Southee was once again outstanding, with 3-16 in his four, varying his pace and keeping things tight, but the lack of support from the other end with Boult going for 9 and Adam Milne for 13 an over hurt them. However, despite Sodhi only having conceded 13 runs in two overs, it was surprising why he wasn't bowled further or why New Zealand didn't use a sixth bowler to take off pace.
Earlier, India pulled things back after the powerplay…
…once again led by Ashwin. The veteran spinner was introduced in the powerplay but played a major role in restricting the runs after the fielding restrictions were lifted. If 64 runs came off the first six overs, just 20 runs came off the next four as New Zealand were losing their way. The bowlers were smart with their lengths and pulled the pace back.
Ashwin was superb once gain despite the dew, varying his pace and oscillating between bowling good lengths and pulling it back adeptly with tight lines. He finished with 1-19. Between him and Axar, India's spinners only conceded 45 runs in their 8 overs. Harshal Patel too, on debut, bowled tight lines and made it tough for New Zealand to score runs. After that explosive powerplay, New Zealand could only score 89 runs in the remaining 14 overs, with just 28 coming in the last five.
Brief scores: New Zealand153/6 in 20 overs (Martin Guptill 31, Daryl Mitchell 31, Glenn Phillips 34; Harshal Patel 2-25) lost to India155/3 in 17.2 overs (Rohit Sharma 55, KL Rahul 65; Tim Southee 3-16) by seven wickets.