New Zealand and India will meet in the second of the three T20 internationals on Friday and the Kiwis have the first of two chances to win the series after completely dominating the opening match in Wellington on Wednesday.
India are yet to lose a series on their tour of Australia and New Zealand and if they are to maintain that record then they know this clash at Eden Park in Auckland is one they have to win. A defeat hands the home side the spoils.
After the way the ODIs went, full credit has to go to New Zealand for their performance in the opening T20. They showed a wonderful intent with the bat and a strong intensity when they had the ball in their hand, and in the end they ran out extremely comfortable winners. If they can replicate that performance in this match then they are entitled to have every chance here.
That will be difficult of course, but the one thing New Zealand have on their side is that there was such a margin between the two sides in Wellington that it will take an amazing effort for India to bridge that gap in the space of 48hrs. New Zealand’s players have just come off the back of the Super Smash and it showed in that first T20.
I kind of expected India to lose heavily in Wellington if they were made to chase. It is so easy for visiting teams to think that every ball has to go into the stands on these small grounds when in reality that is not the case. When teams have that mindset you often see them going too hard and losing their shape and a below par score tends to follow.
What we also tend to see is that touring sides work that out and bat much better the second time around and that is what I’m expecting from India here. If they do work things out with the willow then there is enough to believe they can win this because actually they bowled pretty well, despite being put under enormous pressure right from the off at the Westpac Stadium.
Scott Kuggeleijn didn’t have the greatest of matches in Wellington so he could vulnerable heading into this match. Jimmy Neesham is waiting in the wings for a match. Colin de Grandhomme could be another one who could sit out should Neesham come in.
The natural thing would be for India to make changes from the opening match. Whether they need three wicketkeepers in the side remains to be seen. They probably don’t so Dinesh Karthik could make way for someone like Vijay Shankar.
I took the sixes in Wellington and nothing I saw in that match has swayed me from taking them again here. Eden Park is actually even smaller than the Westpac Stadium so when you factor in there was 21 sixes in that opening match I’m a little surprised that the line is only 15.5 for this second game on a ground notorious for sixes.
The last two completed matches on this ground have yielded 17 sixes and 32 which highlights what I was saying about the ground being used to big hits. I see nothing to suggest that they are not going to flow again between two sides who have plenty of power in their batting line ups and tired looking bowling attacks.
Back Over 15.5 sixes for a 4/10 stake at 1.83 with William Hill
Back it here: