*

upload_article_image

India beats New Zealand by 7 wickets to clinch T20 series

Lokesh Rahul hit 65 off 49 balls as India romped to a seven-wicket win over New Zealand on Friday in the second Twenty20 to clinch the series.

Rahul put on 117 runs off 80 balls with Rohit Sharma as India scored 155-3 in response to New Zealand’s 153-6.

Rahul hit six fours and two sixes as he reached 50 off 39 balls. Sharma scored 55 off 36 balls, including one four and five sixes.

India's Rishabh Pant bats during the second T20 cricket match between India and New Zealand, in Ranchi, India, Friday, Nov. 19, 2021. (AP PhotoRafiq Maqbool)

Their sparkling opening partnership paved the way for India’s dominant win at a dew-soaked JSCA International Stadium. The hosts took a 2-0 lead in the three-match contest.

Sharma’s 29th half century in T20 internationals brought him on par with compatriot Virat Kohli, who is rested from this series.

Rahul scored his 16th T20 half century.

New Zealand's captain Tim Southee, right, celebrates with Martin Guptill the dismissal of India's Suryakumar Yadav during the second T20 cricket match between India and New Zealand, in Ranchi, India, Friday, Nov. 19, 2021. (AP PhotoRafiq Maqbool)

Rishabh Pant finished the game with two sixes off successive balls as India sealed the series with 16 balls to spare.

Stand-in skipper Tim Southee finished with 3-16 in his four overs.

Earlier, New Zealand finished with a below-par total after India put them in to bat.

India's cricket captain Rohit Sharma bats during the second T20 cricket match between India and New Zealand, in Ranchi, India, Friday, Nov. 19, 2021. (AP PhotoRafiq Maqbool)

Martin Guptill (31) provided another quick start with three fours and two sixes and put on 48 off 26 balls with Daryl Mitchell (31).

But the other top New Zealand batsmen failed to put up big scores the team went from 90-3 to 140-6 in the space of 18 deliveries.

Mark Chaman scored 21 off 17 balls and Glenn Phillips made 34 off 21 balls, with one four and three sixes.

Debutant Harshal Patel finished with 2-25 from four overs. Ravichandran Ashwin took 1-19.

More AP cricket: https://apnews.com/hub/cricket and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports