|Hello and welcome to Sportstar‘s live coverage of the 2nd T20I between India and New Zealand at the Eden Park in Auckland.|
New Zealand 48/1 after 6 overs: Thakur is back and question is whether the batsmen will look to go after him, provided this is the last over of the first powerplay. Is Kohli looking out for possible mistakes that the Kiwis might be making?
And there’s the boundary: a wristy flick from Guptill and the ball races away to the square leg fence. An another! Guptill didn’t time that perfectly, but it lands safely- one bounce… four.
OUT! And there’s the mistake I was talking about. Guptill slices again and the ball goes straight and high to end up safely skipper Kohli’s hands.
New Zealand 39/0 after 5 overs: Not the warmest of welcomes for Yuzvendra Chahal. Munro greets him with a sweep, wide of deep backward square, for a four. Two dots and three singles follow as Chahal bounces back well after having been taken on by the batsman in the very first ball of the over.
New Zealand 32/0 after 4 overs: Guptill bludgeons Shami to deep-midwicket for a four. A shortish delivery again and the batsman pulls away to glory. No one there.
But chuck all that! What stood out this over are the two absolute brilliant pieces of fielding in the deep, first by Manish Pandey who pulls off a one-handed wonder to deny a four and then the skipper himself who throws himself on the line to save another boundary.
New Zealand 23/0 after 3 overs: Jasprit Bumrah has been brought in! The pacer, who had been out with an injury for quiet some time, is back with with his venomous yorkers. The Kiwis deal in singles and twos. The last ball, an awkward bouncer, sees Munro taken aback. How long till he starts going after the Indian bowlers?
New Zealand 18/0 after 2 overs: Mohammed Shami to bowl from the other end to Colin Munro. The pacer is trying to restrict the channel on the leg stump, not allowing the left-hander to open the face of the bat.
And Munro has been gifted a lifeline! Shami employs the shorter delivery and Munro plays it a tad bit too early. An edge sees the ball lob up, with Rohit Sharma and Shardul Thakur converging under it. It falls just short.
The last ball, however, disappears to the fence! Five from the over.
New Zealand 13/0 after 1 over: Colin Munro and Martin Guptill to start off proceedings for the Kiwis. Shardul Thakur has been handed the new ball.
And Guptill starts the fireworks early as he slices Thakur over cover for a maximum off only the third ball of the match! That’s not it… The fourth ball goes up, up and away too. A shorter delivery; it did take Guptill by surprise but he swings and swings hard. The fine leg can only watch it sail…
Virat Kohli: We wanted to field first. We did well with the ball too in the last game. It suits better when we bowl first. We were happy with the performance, I don’t think there was any jet lag. We are going in with the same team. We want to do better in the field. We can stop extra 10 runs.
Kane Williamson: We are gonna have a bat. Obviously, it’s an used surface and there won’t be dew. It’s important that we execute our plans and put up a strong performance. We are playing the same team.
India (Playing XI): Rohit Sharma, Lokesh Rahul (w), Virat Kohli (c), Shreyas Iyer, Shivam Dube, Manish Pandey, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah
New Zealand (Playing XI): Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Kane Williamson (c), Colin de Grandhomme, Ross Taylor, Tim Seifert (w), Mitchell Santner, Blair Tickner, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Hamish Bennett
|TOSS UPDATE: New Zealand wins toss, to bat first.|
India is unlikely to change a winning combination but a few changes in the bowling department won’t come as a surprise when the visiting side takes on New Zealand in the second T20 at the high-scoring Eden Park here on Sunday.
Jasprit Bumrah was the only bowler on either side to concede less than eight runs per over at the peculiar shaped ground with short boundaries in the series opener on Friday.
Both Mohammad Shami (0/53 in 4 overs) and Shardul Thakur (1/44 in 3 overs) were taken to the cleaners with New Zealand batsmen using their pace to collect boundaries at will.
Since Shami is expected to retain his place in the playing eleven, Thakur might make way for Navdeep Saini. However, Saini, with his extra pace, too could go for big runs at the small ground.
It remains to be seen whether India sticks to three specialist pacers and two spinners combination or bring in an extra tweaker in Kuldeep Yadav to partner Yuzvendra Chahal and Ravindra Jadeja. Washington Sundar is the other spin option India has.
If India does play an extra tweaker, all-rounder Shivam Dube will be the third fast bowling option.
Considering the conditions, Jadeja and Chahal had done a decent job on Friday, conceding 50 runs off 36 balls and taking a wicket each.
Additionally, Chahal and Kuldeep are yet to play together, since the ODI World Cup ended. With the batting bearing a settled look, the team management might be keen to take a punt on their reunion.
On the batting front, Virat Kohli was a pleased skipper as the much scrutinised middle-order delivered for the team under pressure. Shreyas Iyer solidified at his position at number four with an unbeaten 58 off 29 balls.
It was a near perfect start of the tour for the away team which chased down 204 with relative ease to go 1-0 up in the five-match series.
Ahead of the Indian team’s departure, there was concern about constant shuffling, much like the ODI experimentation ahead of the 2019 World Cup.
Iyer’s form has put paid to all that chatter. The batsman has figured in all of India’s 12 T20Is since September last year, averaging 34.14 in 11 innings with two half-centuries and strike-rate 154.19. With his match-winning temperament at Eden Park, Iyer has stitched down a spot in the batting line-up for good.
As Manish Pandey and Dube alternate in finishing duties, aided by K L Rahul’s wicket-keeping skills, India’s T20 batting line-up finally seems set in the short term barring unforeseen changes.
New Zealand was left pondering about a shortage of 10-15 runs to its total as well as missed chances in the field that allowed the visiting batsmen to get away with a high scoring rate.
Partly, it also had to do with India’s surprisingly quick adaptation to the awkward conditions on offer at Eden Park.
In turn, the Black Caps themselves now have to come to terms with India’s adaptation if they are to prevent an early 2-0 lead within three days. India had also won here in February 2019, albeit it was a three-match T20I series; it had eventually lost 1-2.
Irrespective of the result, the tide seemed to turn for the host in terms of its batting form. Senior batsmen Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor defied recent criticism to score attacking half-centuries. It complimented their top-order’s runs, albeit the side only finished with a par score.
India won key battles during its innings in that new batsmen at the crease were able to maintain the momentum previously generated. It is something New Zealand cannot simply fix with a change in personnel. As such it will be hoping the likes of Colin de Grandhomme and Tim Seifert to come good.
There is a school of thought in the host’s camp that Williamson should open the batting in T20 cricket, thus taking advantage of the powerplay overs. Given the lightning start provided by openers Martin Guptill and Colin Munro, this seems infeasible for the next game, atleast.
New Zealand will be expected to field the same eleven, avoiding any temptation to take a look at all-rounders Scott Kuggeleijn and Daryl Mitchell.
Both teams enjoyed a day off on Saturday in lieu of the tight schedule and sterner battles ahead.
Eden Park was only an estimated 60 per cent full on Friday despite New Zealand Cricket anticipating more gate collections owing to the Indian team’s popularity.
It remains to be seen if the scheduled late-starts (7.50-8 pm local time) continues to have an impact on match attendances during this T20I series.
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.
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.
Where to watch?
The New Zealand vs India 2nd T20I match will be aired live on Star Sports 1 and Star Sports 1 HD in English commentary and Star Sports 3 and Star Sports 3 HD in Hindi commentary. The online streaming of the match will be available on Hotstar.