India would look to clinch the T20I series, albeit with a better batting performance from the middle-order, when it takes on New Zealand in the second match here on Friday.
For head coach Rahul Dravid and newly-appointed captain Rohit Sharma, there couldn’t be a better start than a series win against a quality opposition. A superlative display by the top-order and controlled bowling at the back-end ensured a five-wicket victory in the opening game, ending India’s seven-match losing streak against New Zealand across formats.
With Rohit set to take a mini break of two-and-a-half weeks post the T20I series, the skipper would be keen to get the job done as quickly as possible. In the absence of Virat Kohli – who is on leave – Suryakumar Yadav made full use of his opportunity at No.3 with a match-winning 62 off 40 balls in the series opener.
The 31-year-old Suryakumar would hope to continue the good form while opener KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer and wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant would look to make substantial contributions. All-rounder Venkatesh Iyer, who made his international debut in the previous fixture, will be eager to create an impact if he gets another chance.
Pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s return to form and off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin’s consistent performances are big positives for India, which hugely benefitted from the duo’s efforts in the opening T20I. The home team is expected to stick to the same playing eleven, so Deepak Chahar, Mohammed Siraj and Axar Patel will aim to deliver better spells.
With dew set to be a key factor at the JSCA International Stadium, toss will play a crucial role in what is a must-win match for New Zealand. Opener Martin Guptill and the Hong Kong-born Mark Chapman are in fine nick at the top of the order while the experienced Daryl Mitchell heads into the contest on the back of a duck in Jaipur.
Glenn Phillips and Tim Seifert could once again make up the New Zealand middle-order alongside Rachin Ravindra, a player of Indian origin. The pace trio of skipper Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Lockie Ferguson with the addition of left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner make up a potent bowling attack.