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|Colin de Grandhomme||50||28||1||4||178.57|
This has been a strange tour for India. They won the ODI series 4-1 but ended up suffering their worst ever ODI defeat in terms of deliveries left. They have now started the T20 series with their worst-ever T20 defeat after losing by 80 runs.
The Indians would not want to dwell too deeply on the beating they received in Wellington because nothing seemed to go right for them. In fact, it barely even seemed like a fair contest. New Zealand, on the other hand, would be thrilled. All of their players were on the top of their game and they showed a familiarity with the conditions to thoroughly outplay the Indians.
Can India, the number 2 ranked T20 side in the world, win this match and keep the T20 series alive? Or will New Zealand get the better of the Indians and finally show what all the fuss about them has been for?
Not having Martin Guptill available for the T20 series has turned out to be a blessing for New Zealand to start with. Tim Siefert was asked to fill in for Guptill and he responded with a match-winning 84 from 43 deliveries. It was a brilliant display of hitting that spared no one.
Siefert was joined by multiple willing partners as New Zealand tore apart the Indian bowling. Colin Munro scored 34 from 20 deliveries, Kane Williamson scored 34 from 22 deliveries, Taylor scored 23 off 14 deliveries, and even Scot Kuggeleijn got into the act with 20 off 7 deliveries.
This shows the kind of power that New Zealand has at its disposal. There are still players like Doug Bracewell and Jimmy Neesham sitting on the bench waiting for their opportunity. We think it is fair to say that both those players would walk into any other international side at the moment.
The gameplan for New Zealand is unlikely to change for the next match. They have the batting to be able to attack the Indian bowling from the beginning and they will continue to do so. Their batting order is also quite fluid and changes according to the match situation.
We think someone like Ross Taylor might move up one place if there are a couple of wickets while Daryl Mitchell might be held back a little. We could also see some changes in the playing eleven because every single match is going to be seen with the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 approaching.
Colin de Grandhomme may be replaced by one of Neesham or Bracewell. New Zealand may also not decide to play the two spinners if they feel the pitch has something in it for the faster bowlers.
The bowling for New Zealand in the last match was exceptional. Granted that they had a massive score to defend but the execution of their skills was brilliant. Lockie Ferguson is one of the most skilled fast bowlers going around. He can bowl pint point yorkers at 150 km/h or back of the hand slower balls at will. Lining him up is not going to be easy for the batsmen.
Santner showed a very good understanding of his bowling speeds while Ish Sodhi was good also. We thought Tim Southee benefitted from having a big score to defend and could be one of the bowlers that suffers in this upcoming match.
New Zealand is a very strong side and its understanding of the T20 game is superior to India’s.
Tim Seifert, Colin Munro, KS Williamson, Daryl Mitchell, Ross Taylor, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Scott Kuggeleijn, TG Southee, IS Sodhi, Lockie Ferguson.
India was utterly and completely outplayed in the first T20 international. The format is such that players can have bad days and make the side look worse than it is but the team selection did not help its cause either.
What was the logic of picking Vijay Shankar in the side when he was not going to bowl? He came in to bat at number three, a position that does not seem to suit him. His tally of 27 from 18 deliveries does not look too bad as a top-order batter, he has to be held to higher standards.
Shubman Gill is a genuine batsman who bats at number three in the squad. Surely India is going to bring him in the side for this match. India also chose all three of its wicket-keeper batsmen in the last match. Dinesh Karthik and Rishab Pant have done enough to deserve a place in the side but MS Dhoni is probably getting a run in the team because of the ICC World Cup 2019 approaching.
Kedar Jadhav can count himself a bit unlucky to not be in the side but we don’t see him making it into the eleven this time either. Not picking Kuldeep Yadav is a strange move too. Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal have been the biggest reasons why India dominated New Zealand in the ODI series also.
This decision probably took into account the fact the Krunal Pandya had taken four wickets in the last match he played for India. If India wants to stick with Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, and Vijay Shankar in the same side then surely Khaleel can be dropped to accommodate Kuldeep Yadav.
There are a lot of questions ahead of this Indian side but they can be papered over with another brilliant inning from Rohit Sharma or Shikhar Dhawan. India has been dependent on its top-order for so long that the problems with its middle order seem to be growing unchecked.
Neither India’s batting nor its bowling looked up to the mark in the previous match and something must be done to change things around. Seeing the trend that Rohit Sharma has set in previous matches we won’t be surprised if India chooses to bring in Gill and Siddharth Kaul in place of Vijay Shankar and Khaleel Ahmed while leaving everything else the same.
Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, V Shankar, RR Pant, MS Dhoni, Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, YS Chahal, Khaleel Ahmed.
The side winning the toss is likely to want to field first
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The second T20 international between New Zealand and India is going to be played at Eden Park, Auckland. The pitch here is another belter for batting and the strange dimensions of the ground make it quite difficult to defend. One side of the boundary is always going to be small and plenty of sixes should be hit.
The weather forecast for Auckland is expected to be excellent for cricket with very little chance of rain currently predicted.
New Zealand starts as firm favorites in our opinion but India should hit back with a better performance. The gulf between the two sides is not as great as it was made out to be. We think India’s batting will be able to perform better and we have Rishab Pant and Rohit Sharma as two players to outperform on our list.
Back India to win.
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