India’s star batsman KL Rahul continued his blazing form in white-ball cricket as he anchored another masterful chase with a brilliant fifty during the second T20I against New Zealand at Eden Park, Auckland on Sunday. Rahul scored his second successive half-century of the series as India defeated New Zealand to take a 2-0 lead in the five-match series. This is also the first time when Team India has beaten the Black Caps in succession in the shortest format.

With scores of 56 and 57 not out in the ongoing series, Rahul has become the first player in T20I history to score the fifties in his first two matches as wicketkeeper-batsman. The 27-year-old had smashed 56 off 27 balls to set up India’s six-wicket win in the first T20I. He followed it up with another clinical knock of 57 to anchor the visitors’ seven-wicket victory in Auckland.

In recent times, Rahul’s form in T20I cricket has been a key part of India’s successful run in T20I cricket. He has scored four fifties in the last five innings with scores of 91, 45, 54, 56, 57 not out. Rahul had said he had to make some changes to his game as the pitch was different than the one India played during the opening match. “Obviously different circumstances, the target was different, the pitch was a little different from what we played on a couple of days ago. So I knew I couldn’t play the same way I played a couple of days ago,” said Rahul, who was adjudged the Man of the Match.

“I had a different responsibility today. We lost our senior players Rohit and Virat early so I had to stay in there and make sure I finish the game.”

Rahul, who has been in sizzling form in the white-ball format, said he has improved in his shot selection and reading of the game.

“I think the understanding of my game and how I’m reading the situation and reading the game has gotten better for me. That’s helped me be more consistent and I’ve always put the team ahead and thought about what the team requires at that moment,” he said.

“More often than not I’ve come up with the right shots and right answers so that’s been the mantra for my success in the last several T20s.”

India will next play New Zealand in the third T20I at Hamilton on January 29.