India are 1-0 up in the 5-match T20I series against New Zealand after their exra-ordinary performance at Eden Park, Auckland. The two sides will meet again at the same venue on Sunday that saw five batsmen from the two teams scoring fifties and exploiting the shorter boundaries in the series opener.
In the 1st match, the home side posted a formidable 203 for 5 on the board but failed to defend the total and suffered 6-wicket defeat against the side who just flew in and might be battling with ‘jet lag’. It would be wrong to say that the Kiwis batsmen did not do well on their part as openers Martin Guptill (30) and Colin Munro (59) laid a strong base on which skipper Kane Williamson (51) and Ross Taylor (54*) built a good total.
It was India’s bowling at the death that did not allow New Zealand to accelerate further. Japrit Bumrah gave just 16 runs in his last 2 overs while Mohammed Shami gave 9 his last. The rest was taken care of by the Indian batsmen.
Multi-tasker KL Rahul (56) did what he was expected to do given the dangerous form he has been. After losing Rohit Sharma(7)early, Rahul and Virat Kohli (45) added 99 runs for the 2nd wicket. But it was the batting in the middle-order that was cherished the most by Indian fans.
Shreyas Iyer walked out to bat at 115 for 2 with 85 needed from 60 balls. When Kohli got dismissed, India needed 83 off 53 balls and then Iyer played on of the best innings of his life to steal his claim as India’s new No.4. Without any experienced player around Iyer 29-ball 58 to see India home.
BCCI (@BCCI) January 24, 2020
The pressure will be on New Zealand bowlers in the 2nd game to figure out how to not let allow the Indian batsmen to set in. Meanwhile, their batsmen should look to score more off inexperience Shivam Dube and Shardul Thakur.
Rishabh Pant is expected to warm the bench in the 2nd T20I as well as Rahul executed his job perfectly behind the wickets to continue to provide the team a much-needed balance and thus Manish Pandey is likely to feature in playing XI on Sunday.
However, India could try in Navdeep Saini for Shardul Thakur given Saini’s average of 16.63 than Thakur’s 23.42. Saini also has a better economy (7.36) than Thakur (8.75). Shivam Dube is expected to keep his place as he bowled 3 good overs and playing two all-rounders would also take some pressure off Ravindra Jadeja.
India pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah twisted his ankle in the series opener but went on to bowl after strapping himself up. The 26-year-old will not be missing the 2nd game unless the team management decides not to risk him in the World Cup year.
Players in focus
Virat Kohli is currently tied with Afghanistan’s Mohammad Nabi for the most number of Man-of-the-Match awards in T20Is (12).
Virat Kohli is just 36 runs away from surpassing MS Dhoni on the list of highest run-scorers as a captain in T20Is.Also