India vs New Zealand: Second T20 International Preview

Batsman faces bowler in front of packed cordon

Can New Zealand bounce back in Rajkot following defeat in the first T20 International against India?

India achieved their first ever victory over the Black Caps in the shortest format of the international game - and need one more to wrap up a predictable series victory.

The Kiwis, however, are ever the giant slayers - and just need to improve on a couple of elements to down the Indians in their own backyard.

India v New Zealand | Saturday 4 November | Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium | 15:30

To Win Match
India 42/100 | Tie 35/1 | New Zealand 19/10

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India
The hosts will be without Ashish Nehra, who has retired after one final fling in front of his home crowed in Delhi. The injury-prone seamer endured somewhat of a stop-start career - and India must finally contemplate life after him. He was the go-to option during lean times, but never the first named penned during selection.

Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma were characteristically dominant in the opening T20I, but left the middle order relatively untested against an attack that could potentially have got on top of them. It will be interesting to see the response from the rest, if one or both don't enjoy the same success in Rajkot.

The decision to give Yuzvendra Chahal the new ball ahead of Jasprit Bumrah worked a treat earlier this week - and fans and pundits alike will want to see more of that. Opening the attack with a spinner against a batting order eager to attack pace on the ball is a great tactic, which the visitors will be entirely wary of this time around.

India have a 100 percent winning record at Saturday's venue, but have not played here as a collective since 2013. A string of players, however, have represented their respective Indian Premier League franchises at this ground since - and will know the high-scoring, bat-first factor it possesses.

New Zealand
Kane Williamson was quick to insist New Zealand can't blame the dew factor for their troubles in Delhi - and the same will pretty much apply in Rajkot. New Zealand simply have to improve on a poor fielding performance that yielded a handful of dropped catches from Mitchell Santner and company.

New Zealand's use of Santner with the new ball didn't work as well as it did with India and Chahal. The selection of Ish Sodhi, meanwhile, paid off to an extend - and must extend through to the rest of the series. Trent Boult and Tim Southee, though, have to put in a substantially stronger performance. They were far too expensive in Delhi.

The Kiwis' standing at the helm of the International Cricket Council's rankings for T20I teams is on the line, after all. They hardly competed in the series opener - and have to extract more from themselves on the weekend. Williamson and Guptill, one surmises, will need to be at the fore of the mental charge. They've done it before.

Their ability to better India's match-winners - Kohli, Sharma, Bumrah and more - will be key. The tourists have a handful of kingpins in their own right, but have to gather the confidence required to go big on the day. Failing that, India's propensity for steamrolling their visitors will crop up.

Verdict: India 42/100
While the preceding ODI series was squared one-all after two matches, the same isn't probable in the shortest format, with India likely to line themselves up for a shot at a series whitewash next week.


Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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