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Cricket news - Bruised India look to land counter-punch

Do New Zealand have enough in their tank to seal the series with a knockout punch in the second T20I?

Although the limited-overs series was built up as a battle of the world heavyweights, New Zealand appeared slightly amateurish against a clinical Indian side for most parts. Their jabs, crosses and hooks weren't really causing much of a problem for India, who with their powerful bowling and batting arsenal had effective counter-measures in place. But the hosts did manage to land a couple of telling blows.

The first time they were like a swarmer with the ball in hand, they bowled out the visitors for a measly total of 92 in the fourth ODI - although the series was already lost by that time. Their second was like a slugger, dealing in heavy blows with the bat as they out-batted India in the opening T20I, handing their opponents their heaviest T20I defeat in terms of runs. Do New Zealand have enough in their tank to seal the series with a knockout punch in the second T20I?

The platform for New Zealand's victory in the T20I opener was set up by Tim Seifert, who having scored only 42 runs in seven international 20-over games until then, sent the Indian bowlers on a leather hunt with his 43-ball 84, which included six sixes and seven fours. Overall, there were 14 maximums scored by New Zealand, with useful contributions from most of the batsmen as India struggled in the absence of Mohammed Shami and Kuldeep Yadav. Their decision to go in with eight batting options meant that they had to compromise on the bowling attack. But the lengthy batting order did little to help their cause as they were bowled out for less than 140.

With only a day's break between the first two games, India have a very short time to prepare for a turnaround and keep the series alive. "We were outplayed in all three departments," is how skipper Rohit Sharma described India's loss, while his counterpart Kane Williamson said called New Zealand's show "a complete performance that doesn't happen everyday". Will it be an Indian comeback in Auckland or New Zealand riding on the wave of momentum?

When: Friday, February 8 at 7:00 PM Local Time (11:30 AM IST)

Where: Eden Park, Auckland

What to expect: In the three Super Smash games played at Eden Park this season, 180-plus totals have been achieved four times - hinting at another high-scorer when New Zealand and India face off. Partly cloudy condition with a high of 21 degree Celsius are forecast during the match time.

Team news:

New Zealand: Not opting for both James Neesham and Doug Bracewell for the first game, New Zealand went in with Daryl Mitchell and Colin de Grandhomme as the all-round choices. However, both failed to make any substantial contribution with the bat which might force the management to look at Neesham and Bracewell for the second game.

India: The visitors had six bowling options in the first T20I but they used only five, not opting for Vijay Shankar with the ball. The Tamil Nadu all-rounder, however, came up with a promising knock with the bat and could be persisted with for the second match. Meanwhile, both Dinesh Karthik and Rishabh Pant failed with the bat, Hardik Pandya was a let-down with both bat and ball, while Khaleel Ahmed and Bhuvnenshwar Kumar had expensive figures. Should they look at reinforcements, India have plenty of replacement options in Mohammed Siraj, Shubman Gill, Siddarth Kaul, Kedar Jadhav and Kuldeep Yadav, who all warmed the bench during the first game.

Did you know?

- New Zealand are the only team against whom India have more losses than wins in T20Is. They have won only two of the nine matches played against the Blackcaps.

- The last time India lost a T20I series (min. two matches) was against the Windies in Florida in August 2016.

- Rohit Sharma needs one more fifty-plus score to go past Virat Kohli as the player with most fifty-plus scores in T20Is. Both are tied with 19 such scores.

- Rohit Sharma needs two more sixes to reach the milestone of 100 sixes in T20Is. Chris Gayle and Martin Guptill currently top this list with 103 sixes apiece.

What they said:

"The White Ferns game was a fantastic one, it ebbed and flowed all through. We have copied each other through the series and hopefully they can beat them in the next game and we'll carry it forward" - Kane Williamson is hoping for another double success for New Zealand.


New Zealand: Kane Williamson (c), Doug Bracewell, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Scott Kuggeleijn, Colin Munro, Daryl Mitchell, Mitchell Santner, Tim Seifert (wk), Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Blair Tickner, James Neesham

India: Rohit Sharma (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant, Dinesh Karthik, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (wk), Krunal Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Siddarth Kaul, K Khaleel Ahmed, Shubman Gill, Vijay Shankar, Hardik Pandya, Mohammed Siraj

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