India will look to wrap up the T20I series against New Zealand in the second T20I at Rajkot on Saturday. India have taken 1-0 lead in the three-match T20I series after beating New Zealand comprehensively in the first match by 53 runs. New Zealand were completely outplayed in the first T20I and will look to bounce back in the second T20I to level the series. Cricwizz takes a look at the strengths and weaknesses of the two teams ahead of the second T20I between India and New Zealand.
Batting firepower: India have been served well by their batting powerhouses. The top three batsmen comprising Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli have been outstanding with the bat and will look to do most of the damage again in the second T20I. They have quality reserve batsmen in Manish Pandey, Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul in the ranks. It will be interesting to see who gets to play at No 4 in the second T20I. With MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya to follow, India have a good batting line-up that can take on the best bowling attack in the world.
Bowling resources: With Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, India have a quality new-ball opening pair. They have done exceedingly well in recent times. The spinners – YS Chahal, Axar Patel – too have delivered for the team. With Kuldeep Yadav waiting in the reserves, India are spoilt for choices even as Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin have been left out of the limited-overs squad.
Weakened middle-order: India’s middle-order has not been tested enough as their top-order has done bulk of the scoring. They still do not have a stable No 4 in the batting order. They have tried many options such as KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, but they have not finalised one yet. An unstable middle-order can hamper India’s progress if the top-order has a bad day at office.
India squad: Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Lokesh Rahul, Manish Pandey, Shreyas Iyer, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, YS Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Siraj
New Zealand strengths:
Batting firepower: New Zealand have few world-class batsmen in Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor and Martin Guptill. But they have not fired in unison. Besides, they have Tom Latham who is having a dream run in this tour. New Zealand batsmen will have to fire in unison in the second T20I to give hope to their team to level the series. The battle is between New Zealand batsmen vs Indian bowlers.
Competitiveness: Although man-to-man India have a superior team, New Zealand make up for it with their competitiveness. They ran India close in the ODI series, but they were completely outplayed in the first T20I. New Zealand will come back strongly in the second T20I and hope to win it to keep the series alive.
Bowling lacking penetration: On the flat pitches of India, batsmen will make merry. But bowling can command respect if the bowlers bowl at the right areas. New Zealand bowlers have been found wanting in this respect. They were taken to task in the first T201 as India plundered 202/3. New Zealand spinners will have to take more responsibility in restricting India.
New Zealand squad: Kane Williamson, Trent Boult, Tom Bruce, Colin de Grandhomme, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Adam Milne, Colin Munro, Glenn Phillips, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor.
Prediction: India have been ruthless in the first T20I and gave a fitting farewell to Ashish Nehra. But New Zealand will come hard at India in the second T20I. But India have the momentum as they have posted three wins against New Zealand in this series so far. Our vote goes to Virat Kohli and his men in this India vs New Zealand second T20I clash at Rajkot.