KL Rahul was the Man of the Series against New ZealandFeature image courtesy: Twitter/ @ICC

Swashbuckling opening batsman KL Rahul was bumped up four places in the latest ICC T20I rankings, reaching a career best-equalling position of second. Only Pakistan’s Babar Azam is ranked higher than the stylish Indian batsman, who has compatriots Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma for company in the latest T20I rankings.

The rankings were revised a day after India registered a compressive 5-0 series whitewash away against New Zealand. Rahul was India’s talisman in that triumphant series win, emerging as leading run getter with 224 runs over the course of five matches. The next closest to the Indian opener was Colin Munro of New Zealand, who managed 178 runs.

Rahul registered scores of 56, 57*, 27, 39 and 45 in the T20I games against the Kiwis, rising to the occasion whenever called upon. He also had a healthy average of 56 in the series- the best amongst all batsmen. The Kings XI Punjab captain also opened the innings on both occasions when the game went to a Super Over, playing a pivotal role in India’s success.

Apart from his extraordinary batting, he was also a handy customer on the field. Picking up the added responsibility of being the wicketkeeper this series, Rahul seemed to make light work of this challenge as he was responsible for three catches, a stumping and a few run outs. In the final T20I game, the opening batsman also took on the mantle of being a stand-in captain during the second innings with the skipper on the day Rohit Sharma not taking the field due to an injury.

As captain, Rahul made a few inspired bowling changes, employing lead bowler Jasprit Bumrah as the right occasions. The lanky pacer picked up a wicket whenever he was reintroduced into the attack, helping India snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. For his collective brilliance in the T20I series, KL Rahul was adjudged the Man of the Series award.

Rahul will next be in action in the One Day International games against the Kiwis, which will begin on Wednesday (February 5).