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Upbeat India eye 2-0 lead

India take on New Zealand in the second T20I at Auckland on Sunday

By TT Bureau & Agencies in Auckland and Calcutta

  • Published 26.01.20, 1:56 AM
  • Updated 26.01.20, 1:56 AM
Jasprit Bumrah
Jasprit Bumrah File picture

India are unlikely to tinker with the winning combination barring a change or two in the bowling department when action resumes at the high-scoring Eden Park for the second T20I versus New Zealand on Sunday.

Jasprit Bumrah was the only bowler on either side to concede less than eight per over at the ground with very short boundaries in Friday’s series opener. Both Mohammed Shami (0/53 in four overs) and Shardul Thakur (1/44 in three overs) were expensive.

Now with Shami expected to retain his place in the XI, Thakur may make way for Navdeep Saini. However, it remains to be seen whether India stick to three specialist pacers and two spinners or bring in an extra tweaker in the form of Kuldeep Yadav to partner Yuzvendra Chahal and Ravindra Jadeja.

Looking at the conditions, Jadeja and Chahal had done a decent job in the first T20I, conceding 50 runs off 36 balls and taking a wicket each.

India’s batting, though, has a settled look. Captain Virat Kohli was a happy man as the much scrutinised middle order delivered under pressure.

Shreyas Iyer solidified at his position at number four with a match-winning, unbeaten 58 off 29 balls. It was a near perfect start of the tour for India as they 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 knocks in Bangalore and on Friday, for the time being, have put paid to all the talking.

He has figured in all of India’s 12 T20Is since September last year, averaging 34.14 in 11 innings with two half-centuries and a strike-rate of 154.19. Showing wonderful temperament at the Eden Park the other day, Iyer seems to have clinched a spot in the batting line-up for good. Not to forget, a powerful top order aided by KL Rahul’s wicketkeeping skills, India’s T20I batting line-up appears set as of now barring unforeseen changes.

New Zealand rued a shortage of 10-15 runs to their total as well as missed chances in the field that also allowed the Indian batsmen to get away despite the high asking rate.

The Indians also adapted well to the conditions and as a result, the onus is on the Black Caps to take the bull by the horns and look to level the series. 

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