After securing an impressive six-wicket win over New Zealand in the opening encounter, Team India would look to extend their advantage in the five-match T20I series, when both the teams lock horns in the second clash in Auckland on Sunday. Led by some stylish batting by opener KL Rahul and middle-order specialist Shreyas Iyer, the Men In Blue chased down a gigantic 204 to finish the contest with six deliveries to spare.
The batting was splendid but it was the bowlers and the fielding standard that allowed New Zealand to post a mammoth totat on the board. Keeping the bowling department into consideration, a few changes in the setup shouldn’t come as a surprise in the second encounter of the five-match series.
India’s bowling option
Jasprit Bumrah, who has just returned from a back injury, was the only bowler from both sides to concede less than eight runs per over at the peculiarly shaped ground with short boundaries.
Shradul Thakur scalped a wicket but he gave away 44 runs in the three overs he bowled, Mohammad Shami, on the other hand, went wicketless and conceded 53 runs in his four overs quota, which also included a 22-run over.
With Navdeep Saini not featuring in the opening encounter, it is highly likely that one out of the two would make way for the 27-year-old in the playing XI.
Meanwhile, Shivam Dube chipped in with three crucial overs in the previous encounter and the spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Ravindra Jadeja conceded 50/2 in the six overs they bowled, could tempt the team management opt for an extra spin option for the clash on Sunday.
Kuldeep Yadav and Washington Sundar are the other two spin options India have in their camp. Additionally, Chahal and Kuldeep are yet to play together since the ODI World Cup. With the batting bearing a settled look, the team management might be keen to take a punt on their reunion.
Kohli on fielding standards
Kohli, as usual, was good in the field, but the team couldn’t match the fielding standard the Indian skipper demands for. Yuzvendra Chahal and Shradul Thakur, in particular, were not on their best, as the spinner seemed lost and missed a couple of chances. During the 14th and 16th over, Chahal missed two chances of dismissing Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor respectively.
Kohli also lamented about the missed chances on the field and asserted that this is one particular area where the team needs to work on. “I think fielding is one thing that we can improve on, just getting used to the ground dimensions and the ball snaking a bit,” the Indian skipper said during the post-match presentation ceremony.
Kiwis aim to bounce back
After getting off to a solid start with 91/1 at the end of 10 overs, the hosts lost their rhythm, losing a couple of wickets in quick intervals. However, an attacking approach by Williamson and Taylor did get the Kiwis back on the track but the hosts surely missed out on adding 10-15 extra runs to their total.
While the Indian batsmen coming at the crease were able to maintain the momentum generated by the top order, the hosts failed to do the same, thus helping Kohli & co. get back into the contest. The hosts would also hope the likes of Colin de Grandhomme and Tim Seifert to come good in the second encounter.
India: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul (wk), Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant, Sanju Samson, Shreyas Iyer, Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur, Navdeep Saini, Washington Sundar. PTI CN
New Zealand: Kane Williamson (captain), Martin Guptill, Ross Taylor, Scott Kuggeleijn, Colin Munro, Colin de Grandhomme, Tom Bruce, Daryl Mitchell, Mitchell Santner, Tim Seifert (wk), Hamish Bennett, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Blair Tickner.
Match starts at: 12.20pm IST.
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