AUCKLAND, January 25: India are unlikely to change a winning combination but a few changes in the bowling department won’t come as a surprise when the visitors take on New Zealand in the second T20I at the high-scoring Eden Park here on Sunday.
Jasprit Bumrah was the only bowler on either side to concede less than eight runs per over at the peculiar shaped ground with short boundaries in the series opener on Friday.
Both Mohammad Shami (0/53 in 4 overs) and Shardul Thakur (1/44 in 3 overs) were taken to the cleaners with New Zealand batsmen using their pace to collect boundaries at will.
Since Shami is expected to retain his place in the playing eleven, Thakur might make way for Navdeep Saini. However, Saini, with his extra pace, too could go for big runs at the small ground.
It remains to be seen whether India stick to the combination of three specialist pacers and two spinners or bring in an extra tweaker in Kuldeep Yadav to partner Yuzvendra Chahal and Ravindra Jadeja. Washington Sundar is the other spin option India have.
If India do play an extra tweaker, all-rounder Shivam Dube will be the third fast-bowling option.
Considering the conditions, Jadeja and Chahal had done a decent job on Friday, conceding 50 runs off 36 balls and taking a wicket each. Additionally, Chahal and Kuldeep are yet to play together since the ODI World Cup ended. With the batting having a settled look, the team management might look at reuniting them. On the batting front, Virat Kohli was a pleased skipper as the much scrutinised middle-order delivered for the team under pressure. Shreyas Iyer solidified his position at number four with an unbeaten 58 off 29 balls.
It was a near perfect start of the tour for the away team, chasing down 204 with relative ease to go 1-0 up in the five-match series. Ahead of the Indian team’s departure, there was a concern about constant shuffling, much like the ODI experimentation ahead of the 2019 World Cup. (PTI)