Team India eye series victory

Plot:

After 10 years of playing each other in the shortest format, India earned their first ever victory over New Zealand with a colossal all-round effort at Delhi. The hosts capitalized on chances in the first half with Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan adding a massive 158-run stand before Kohli and Dhoni lifted them to 202. With a 200+ run cushion, India’s bowlers worked in tandem to deny New Zealand any chance of a possible return in the second innings.

While India will look to seal the series at the Saurashtra Cricket Association, the Kiwis on the other hand will eye a comeback and keep it alive. The Kane Williamson led side also conceded their number one ranking to Pakistan with the loss and need to win both their remaining games to get back on top.

The batting friendly Rajkot wicket should remain the same for all 40 overs but in November, dew can play a decisive role in India. So the winning captain shouldn’t mind chasing. Vice-captain Rohit Sharma along with his opening partner Shikhar Dhawan will aim to repeat their Delhi destruction and possibly bat New Zealand out in the early overs. Their effort at Feroz Shah Kotla backed Virat Kohli’s decision to field a batsman less but with Ashish Nehra out, India can now field a 6th batsman. This would also mean that India will now go back to the effective pair of Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar to shoulder their pace bowling responsibilities.

New Zealand’s batting was undone by India’s slow bowlers so to stitch partnerships at Rajkot will be on their to-do list in this do-or-die game. Martin Guptill and Colin Munro form a destructive opening pair, but the former’s form has been a worry for the Black Caps. Skipper Kane Williamson has the knack of holding one end up but he will need his other batters to strike at a decent pace.

The middle order is left to do a tedious job with Tom Latham looking as their only stand out batsman. In the bowling department, Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi’s 8 overs will possibly decide the fate of the game. Tim Southee and Trent Boult form a lethal new ball pair, but India’s top order has been equally vigilant to see them through and also attack.

India are high on confidence and will look for nothing less than wrapping up the series in Rajkot itself. The hosts have the right balance in their line-up and will start as favourites yet again. Will the Kiwis come back strongly to keep the series alive? It remains to be seen. Nevertheless, it promises to be an action-packed game.

Stage:
Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Rajkot
Rajkot will host the second game of the series and it will be the second T20I at this venue. The wicket usually offers a lot of runs and the batsmen tend to make merry here. Cut to 2017 IPL’s Gujarat Lions vs Mumbai Indians encounter where we beat the hosts in a super over. Expect this to be a tight contest, too!

Acts:

Shikhar Dhawan vs Trent Boult:
The Indian opening batsman looked in great touch in the first game, but he was troubled a bit by Boult’s outswinging deliveries. The Kiwi pacer will look to keep Dhawan silent on this occasion, thus not letting India get off to a flyer.

Virat Kohli vs Ish Sodhi:
The Indian captain’s form has been simply outstanding and he has been taking the Kiwi bowlers to the cleaners. Sodhi was terrific in the first game and needs to bring out his best against Virat Kohli.

Kane Williamson vs Jasprit Bumrah:
The Kiwi skipper hasn’t really enjoyed facing Bumrah in this tour so far. The yorker specialist troubled Williamson in the ODIs and will look to come up with a plan or two against one of the best batsmen in the world currently.


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