Phew. What a pathetic performance from India today in the 1st T20I in New Zealand. No, I’m not ridiculing the team I love the most, but it just goes to show how a badly managed team can flop at the biggest stage. Just how a carpenter needs to use his tools right, a team needs to be managed right. In the 4th ODI, India slumped to their worst loss (in terms of balls left) and then today, their slipped to their worst T20I loss (in terms of runs). All this in the space of a week doesn’t speak too highly of Rohit Sharma’s captaincy.
Now let me tell you that this Indian team has no shortage of talent in it. However, when you are chasing 220 in a T20, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to send in newcomer Vijay Shankar at #3, and it makes worse sense to send in Rishabh Pant at #4, meaning two inexperienced batsmen after early wickets fall.
What transpired? Them falling cheaply and the more experienced likes of Pandya, DK and Dhoni to follow, but to what avail? How do they play when they need to score at 15+ an over? And for all the talks of MSD not being good enough and Mr. Sunil Gavaskar not picking him in his team for the 3-match series, guess who emerged as today’s top scorer – MSD with 39(31). Well, enough about the 1st T20 now, and on to the 2nd T20.
- Tournament: India’s Tour of New Zealand 2019
- Date: 8th February 2019, 11:30am IST
- Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
- Capacity: 41,000+
- Series status: New Zealand lead 1-0
- Tim Seifert hammered 84 from 43 balls and New Zealand posted 219/6 in the 1st T20.
- Tim Southee was the best bowler with 3-17 in his 4 overs in the 1st T20.
- New Zealand have a POOR T20 record here. They won just one of their last 6 games at Auckland. Overall, just 6 wins in 17 games here.
- World’s highest T20I chase has been achieved at this ground – 245/5 by Australia in February 2018. Overall, 5 scores of 200+ so you can expect another 200+ total by whichever team bats first.
- Colin Munro is the second highest run scorer at this ground – 278 runs in 9 matches, with 3 fifties too.
- Tim Southee is the highest wicket taker at this ground – 11 wickets in 9 matches.
Not sure if New Zealand would want to tinker with a winning combination, especially after more-or-else everyone got their respective jobs done. James Neesham was added to the squad and I believed he would be a great pick, but unfortunately, he wasn’t picked. Blair Tickner and Doug Bracewell were the other two available on the bench. I’d continue to pick Neesham and expect him to come in place of Colin de Grandhomme.
The spin department was brilliant in Ish Sodhi and Mitchell Santner, who always seem to bring out their best against India. You can pick both these players since Santner comes under the all rounder category, while you’d have to pick one between Tim Southee and Lockie Ferguson. With everyone’s favourite being Southee, I’d be choosing Ferguson in the 2nd T20 between New Zealand and India.
India – changes expected
The unused players by the away team in the 1st T20 were Shubman Gill, Kedhar Jadhav, Siddarth Kaul, Kuldeep Yadav and Mohammed Siraj. Of these, Kuldeep bowled brilliantly in Australia, but he may continue to sit out, unless India is planning to go in with just one pacer, or drop an all-rounder among the Pandya brothers.
However, from the pacers, I see Khaleel Ahmed sitting out and Siddarth Kaul being given a chance, someone who has been pretty consistent in the IPL over the years. Jadhav is someone who can be brought in too, in place of Pant, Shankar or DK, so I’d avoid picking these players. Pick Shikhar Dhawan as he did well in the ODIs and looked good with the bat in the 1st T20 as well.
My fantasy eleven
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