India vs New Zealand 2020: 2nd ODI, Auckland | Bowlers under focus as India pursue series equalizer
Shreyas Iyer's magnificent century had jolted New Zealand on Hamilton's featherbed before KL Rahul and Kedar Jadhav exploded in unison to produce the finishing burst, ensuring India headed into the innings break with no shortage of momentum.
Kick-starting New Zealand's response, openers Martin Guptill and Henry Nicholls oozed intent, dexterously pinching singles while collecting the occasional boundary. Forthwith, Guptill departed prematurely, leaving the his sheet-anchor task unaccomplished yet again. Tom Blundell also returned cheaply, but Nicholls and Ross Taylor joined forces to anchor the chase. Another familiar batting implosion awaited the Kiwis, danger lurked, but the experienced campaigners were in no mood to let their foot off the pedal. The pro-active duo unleashed a barrage of sweeps and rotated the strike without fuss, bringing India's bowling strategy under the scanner. Later, Tom Latham's dazzling pyrotechnics sealed the deal, helping New Zealand register an elusive triumph against India this summer.
Also see – Women’s T20 world cup schedule
The primary reason behind New Zealand's victory was their counter-attacking game plan - how they held their nerve under trying circumstances and got the job done with composure. Whenever the asking rate crept up, the Black Caps invariably found the rope and released the pressure. Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav, India's key operators during the middle phases, were ripped apart - their lengths disrupted by prompt footwork and belligerent strokeplay.
India's frontline pace merchants too bore the brunt of New Zealand's hostility, and couldn't come to the rescue either as the visitors went downhill. While defending targets, picking wickets at regular intervals has always been India's modus operandi, but the bowlers weren't penetrative enough in Seddon Park and Virat Kohli's men ended up conceding the lead in the ODI series.
Hence, the star-studded bowling group needs to shoulder responsibility and deliver the goods in Auckland's potential series decider.
Yes, New Zealand have gained ascendancy, but counting out the pugnacious tourists would be foolhardy, especially after their come-from-behind series wins against Australia and West Indies. Can India bounce back once more and draw level, or will the hosts run away with the coveted silverware?
Match Details: India vs New Zealand, 1st ODI
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
Date and Time: Saturday, February 8, 7:30 AM IST
What to expect: Pacemen relish the seaming conditions. However, the drop-in wicket holds a tendency to marginally slow down as the game progresses, thus spinners would play a crucial role. Bizzare ground dimensions and the spontaneous breeze makes catching tough. Passing showers could possibly ruin the fun. Chasing totals is highly recommended given the short boundaries and dew factor.
Probable XI: Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, Virat Kohli (c), Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammad Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Navdeep Saini/ Shardul Thakur.
New Zealand: Captain Kane Williamson and quick Lockie Ferguson need more time to regain full fitness. Kyle Jamieson will make his ODI debut replacing Ish Sodhi. Besides that, Latham won't tinker with the winning combination and make any other changes.
Probable XI: Martin Guptill, Henry Nicholls, Tom Blundell, Ross Taylor, Tom Latham (c & wk), James Neesham, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Kyle Jamieson, Hamish Bennett, Tim Southee.
What they said:
Shreyas Iyer reflecting on his maiden ODI hundred quipped,
"I am very happy but would have been happier if we could have finished the game on a winning note. First of many (centuries to come), so I'll take it in my stride and try to make sure that next time, I'll finish on the winning side. Just need to take the positives in this game and move forward."
Published 07 Feb 2020, 13:41 IST