Having suffered a severe beating at the hands of New Zealand in the first Twenty20 International, India will aim to pull up their socks in both batting and bowling departments when they face a resurgent Kiwi side in a do-or-die second T20I at the Eden Park in Auckland on Friday (February 8).
New Zealand looked completely a different outfit from the one that lost the One-Day International series 1-4 and outplayed India in all facets of the game. The home team rode on Tim Seifert’s fiery 43-ball 84 to post a massive total of 219 for 6 in their 20 overs. In reply, despite going with eight batsmen, India were bundled out for 139, suffering an 80-run defeat – their biggest in terms of margin.
In the absence of Mohammed Shami and Kuldeep Yadav, the Indian bowling attack looked mediocre and New Zealand batsmen had no trouble in taking them apart. In total, they were smashed for 14 maximums and almost every Black Caps batsman took part in the run fest.
“In the Powerplay as well as in the middle overs also, we gave away plenty of runs. When you are chasing 218 (220), it’s not that easy. Initially, we gave away (too many) runs and kept on leaking runs in the middle overs as well. So no matter how the pitch was, the scoreboard pressure was obviously there,” said Krunal Pandya after the defeat.
India went with Krunal in place of Kuldeep to prolong their batting lineup and they might once again go back to the left-arm wrist spinner who had a superb ODI series. Krunal spoke about conceding too many runs in the middle overs and that’s what Kuldeep can minimise by picking up regular wickets. Yuzvendra Chahal too didn’t have a great game and it’s no secret that both wrist spinners perform well when they are bowling in tandem. Meanwhile, left-arm pacer Khaleel Ahmed too has failed to impress and it with Mohammed Siraj and Siddarth Kaul available, the management has other options.
While a 220-run chase was never going to be easy for India, the way they surrendered their weapons was a big surprise. The lengthy batting order hardly mattered as they were bowled out for less than 140. The likes of Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant, Dinesh Karthik and Hardik Pandya had a forgettable day at the office, while Shikhar Dhawan, Vijay Shankar and MS Dhoni were able to spend some time in the middle. India have plenty of replacement options in the batting department as well and might bring Kedar Jadhav into the mix. He can provide that extra bowling option and will allow India to play an extra frontline bowler.
“We have all the required ingredients of a good team. Batting depth, multiple bowling options. Just that it was one of the bad days. We have to now rectify ourselves and not repeat the same mistakes in the next game,” said Krunal.
Meanwhile, New Zealand will look to build on the momentum they gained from the first T20I. Apart from Seifert, the likes of Colin Munro, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor and Scott Kuggeleijn chipped in as well and will look to do the same in the next encounter. The hosts went with Daryl Mitchell and Colin de Grandhomme who didn’t contribute much and now might again go back to James Neesham and Doug Bracewell.
New Zealand will be delighted with the way Tim Southee, who picked up 3 for 17, performed in the last game. The 30-year-old hasn’t been in the best of form in white-ball cricket and this will surely boost his confidence ahead of the World Cup.
“A number of guys that needed game time and I know I haven’t been at my best with the white-ball for a while,” he said. “There’s been times in the last year or so I’ve felt I’ve bowled extremely well at times and haven’t got wickets or supported [Trent] Boulty at the other end. So I guess you’re always looking at ways to get better, always looking at ways to try and improve as a cricketer. So it’s just always [about being] involved in the game and look in a different way so you can get better and looking back to when you were at your best and how you were operating then.”
New Zealand are the only team against whom India have losing record in T20Is and if they aren’t at their best on Friday, there will be no coming back in the series.
New Zealand: Kane Williamson (capt), Doug Bracewell, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Scott Kuggeleijn, Colin Munro, Daryl Mitchell, Mitchell Santner, Tim Seifert, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Blair Tickner, James Neesham.
India: Rohit Sharma (capt), Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant, Dinesh Karthik, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni, Krunal Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Siddarth Kaul, K Khaleel Ahmed, Shubman Gill, Vijay Shankar, Hardik Pandya.