Rohit – Rahul brilliance leads to India winning the T20 series

By Kersi Meher-Homji

The brilliant partnership between Indian openers Lokesh Rahul and Rohit Sharma sure exudes six appeal. Between them they hit seven sixes in the second Twenty20 International early this morning.

India’s victory by 7 wickets against New Zealand in the second T20 International at Ranchi enables them to win the three match series 2-0 having won the first match by 5 wickets two days ago.

Skipper Rohit Sharma is lucky with the coin. Winning the toss for the second time he sent NZ in to bat on a pitch with dew on it. With debutant fast-medium bowler Harshal Patel taking two vital wickets, the tourists could make only 6 for 153 in the allotted 20 overs.

The R and R combo started with a bang adding 117 runs for the first wicket; Rahul 65 runs with 6 fours and 2 sixes and Rohit 55 with one four and 5 sixes. India won by 7 wickets with 16 balls remaining.

Debutant Harshal Patel was adjudged Person of the Match. He said, “It ran through a bit because you’re so engrossed in the process you forget to enjoy what’s happening around you. You have to be engrossed and switched on from the moment you walk out but it will sink in. I couldn’t have asked for a better debut.

“Progress is gradual and slow, someone like me who wasn’t exceptionally talented, I had to build my game from the ground up. So I made mistakes and then found the process of what works for me. It’s been a great journey, taught me so many life lessons. Even after cricket it will hold me in good stead. Don’t feel you need a lot of variations, just need to do what you do well. In these conditions, I couldn’t bowl yorkers because I wasn’t confident – but I feel that is a delivery I bowl well and I still want to get better at it. This is just another platform to come out and perform and express myself, just want to do that and enjoy whatever comes my way.”

The winning captain Rohit Sharma added, “Great effort from entire unit, wasn’t the easiest of conditions but the way we applied ourselves was great. Under pressure, we know their quality as a batting outfit. I kept telling the bowlers it’s just about one wicket, if we get that we can put the brakes. We know the quality of our spinners and can always pull things back. The bench strength, these guys have been performing consistently, so there’s pressure on the guys on the field. Important for me to give them freedom and the external things will take care of themselves. It’s a young team, many haven’t played a lot of games. Harshal Patel has done it many times, playing first-class cricket for many years, he knows what he wants to execute and is a very skilful bowler.”

The third and final T20 International starts tomorrow night at Kolkata.

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