New Zealand players celebrate the dismissal of David Wiese © Getty Images
New Zealand players celebrate the dismissal of David Wiese © Getty Images

New Zealand won the second T20 International (T20I) by 32 runs and levelled the two-match series 1-1. The Black Caps lost the first match despite getting off to a good start, provided to them by Kane Williamson and Martin Guptill. They repeated the same performance in the second match as well, but their middle-order stepped up and ensured that the team got a good total on the board. Their bowling too was not as bad as it was. Pramod Ananth believes New Zealand’s ability to learn quickly and focusing on improving the little things will make them even a stronger unit.

New Zealand went in to the series against South Africa without Brendon McCullum, Ross Taylor, Tim Southee and Trent Boult. Which such high profile names missing from the squad, they are bound to have a hiccup or two. That’s exactly what happened in the first T20I against South Africa. New Zealand are generally used to having McCullum at the top of the innings, who goes all guns blazing initially and lays a platform for the middle order to exploit. Taylor generally steadies the innings after the initial onslaught. READ: New Zealand triumph over South Africa by 32 runs in 2nd T20I

Boult and Southee then get New Zealand off to a good start with the ball as well, with the supporting bowlers reaping benefits from it. The Kiwis had none at their disposal in this series. Williamson and Guptill too did a good job in the series, but the middle-order, consisting of Grant Elliott, Jimmy Neesham, Colin Munro and Luke Ronchi were did not cash in on it in the first match. They however played their part in the second game, ensuring New Zealand reach a good total. UPDATES: South Africa vs New Zealand, 2nd T20I at Centurion

Their bowlers were excellent in the second match than compared to the first. Mitchell McClenaghan was comparatively better and the result reflected. New Zealand managed to pick up wickets at regular intervals and kept pecking away at South Africa batsmen. McClenaghan, along with Adam Milne, improved on their lines and lengths to run through the opposition batting order with help from Ish Sodhi. Plus, the inclusion of Jimmy Neesham too made a difference as his 28 runs with the bat and 1 for 22 with the ball was crucial in ensuring that New Zealand did not let go of their stronghold over South Africa.

Williamson’s captaincy too is commendable. He made the right sort of changes for the second game and it paid off. Plus, the middle-order this time cashed on a good start after the visitors scored 50 inside six overs once again. Williamson without a shadow of a doubt is more than a decent captain, but he has showed that he is not afraid to bring in the necessary changes after just one bad game. These are good signs for him and for New Zealand going ahead.

(Pramod Ananth is a reporter at CricketCountry. He has represented Karnataka table tennis under-15, and is a hardcore supporter of Liverpool FC. His Twitter handle is @pramz)