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Kohli Iyer

India aim to maintain T20I ascendancy

NZ v Ind, 2nd T20I, preview

India have won seven out of their last eight T20Is, and four on the trot. Another win would present them a great chance to win the series: something they couldn't achieve in their previous two attempts in New Zealand.

Overview

New Zealand vs India, 2nd T20I
Eden Park, Auckland
Sunday, 26 January; 07:50pm local, 06.50am GMT

Jasprit Bumrah, India's premier pacer, twisted his ankle in his final over in the first T20I on Friday and received on-field treatment immediately. However, he was able to bowl out the remaining four deliveries, which are positive signs for the visitors ahead of the second game.

New Zealand, on the other hand, might consider bringing in Daryl Mitchell or Scott Kuggeleijn in place of Tim Southee or Blair Tickner, both of whom were taken to the cleaners in Auckland. The hosts made changes to their batting order in the first game, pushing Ross Taylor to No.5 to lend stability to the lower order. The ploy worked, as he slammed an unbeaten 54 in just 27 balls.

Whether they persist with the same strategy would depend on the kind of start they get from their openers, who looked at their destructive best on Friday.

Remember the last time

India claimed the opening fixture of the five-match series with a six-wicket win, thanks to a solid batting performance. KL Rahul, Virat Kohli and Shreyas Iyer were all among the runs, as the visitors chased down the 204-run target with an over to spare. Iyer, in particular, was in excellent touch, slamming an unbeaten 58 in double quick time to take India home.

Given the success of batsmen on Friday, with as many as five fifties being scored combined, it'll be the bowlers who'll play a decisive role at a venue that has a reputation of producing high-scoring games.  In the absence of the injured duo of Trent Boult and Lockie Ferguson, the spotlight will be on Tim Southee, who wasn't quite at his best in the first game, going wicketless in his four-over spell, while conceding 48 runs.

Shreyas Iyer played a crucial hand
Shreyas Iyer played a crucial hand

What they said

KL Rahul (India wicket-keeper): "As a batsman as well, after keeping for 20 overs, especially you get a fair idea on what are the good shots on this kind of wicket and so I'm enjoying the responsibility and so far so good for me."

Kane Williamson (New Zealand captain): "Taking pace off seemed to be working okay, but it was tough to execute because India put us under pressure constantly. But we need to find ways to pick up some wickets."

Conditions

The shorter boundaries and quick outfield at Eden Park make it batsman's paradise, but clever bowling has paid dividends for pacers at this wicket. The weather is expected to be clear and we might be in for another run-fest on Sunday.

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