Black Caps thrashed by India

Indian batsmen Shreyas Iyer (L) and KL Rahul celebrate while Blair Tickner walks back to his mark...
Indian batsmen Shreyas Iyer (L) and KL Rahul celebrate while Blair Tickner walks back to his mark. Photo: Getty Images
With the same venue, the same lineup and the same toss result, it stood to reason that the Black Caps batsmen would have been able to put in the same performance.

Instead, two days after they walloped 203-5 at Eden Park, the same seven Black Caps batsmen produced a pitiful 132-5 as India stormed to a seven-wicket win to move 2-0 up in the five-match Twenty20 series.

On Friday, the Black Caps had their bowlers to blame for not being able to produce a victory, but this time, the bowlers had no hope of defending a disastrous first-innings total.

Granted, it was a used wicket, meaning the ball slowed a touch, and the conditions were harder to score in than the opener.

But not that much harder – if it was, India may have had more trouble. Instead they rotated the strike without requiring much effort, in some respects extending the Black Caps' misery, eventually winning with 15 balls remaining.

And, even if playing in the most-bowler friendly conditions, there's no excuse for what transpired in Auckland, as the Black Caps went an outrageous 41 consecutive balls without a boundary in the middle of their innings.

Perhaps the biggest crime was ending only five wickets down – signifying either a completely outclassed unit unable to even hit out against the Indian bowlers, or a side who played far too timidly, and employed a low-risk strategy that didn't make optimal use of aggression or resource.

Frankly, it was probably a bit of both. The best Twenty20 lineup in the world would have struggled against some of the miserly lines and lengths offered by the Indian bowlers tonight, with Jasprit Bumrah (1-21) and Ravindra Jadeja (2-18) particularly superb.

After both notched their fastest Twenty20 fifties on Friday, Kane Williamson (14 off 20 balls) and Ross Taylor (18 off 24) reverted to the types of innings that – if repeated – will put their spots in the side back under serious scrutiny, while Colin Munro's 25-ball 26 wasn't much better.

Only Martin Guptill, with 33 from 20 balls, and Tim Seifert's late 26-ball 33 provided any impetus, as India bowled 46 dot balls, and remarkably ensured that New Zealand drastically slowed as their innings progressed, with a 48-0 start after 5.5 overs ending with third-lowest total batting first in the history of Twenty20 internationals at Eden Park.

Having already chased down 204 with relative ease, India were never going to be troubled chasing 133, and promptly took their sweet time early on.

Their only wobble was caused by an excellent early spell from Tim Southee, who removed Rohit Sharma, then had Virat Kohli strangled down the legside. His powerplay figures of 3-0-12-2 gave the Black Caps the slightest of hope, aiming to expose India's untested lower order.

But with the required run-rate remarkably manageable, KL Rahul (57 not out) and Shreyas Iyer (44) simply rotated the strike, before effortlessly flipping the switch to cruise home and claim an embarrassingly easy victory.

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