Rajkot: India are poised for their third T20 International series triumph in five years but would be wary of a strong fightback from the usually plucky New Zealand when the two sides clash in the second game of the three-match series here tomorrow.
The comprehensive 53-run victory in the series opener at Delhi has put India firmly in the saddle for sweeping to a winning 2-0 lead at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium here in Kandheri.
The resounding victory, riding on the exhilarating batting exploits of their top-order and, in particular openers Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma, was the country’s first-ever over the Kiwis in the shortest form of the game. The 2007 World
T20 champions have produced impressive death bowling with Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah leading the pace department, while the spinners also pitched in with some excellent bowling in the middle overs.
Considering the immense all round strength that the hosts boast of, it’s going to be a Herculean task for the Kane Williamson-led New Zealand to prevent India from surging to a third T20I series victory in eight contests, going back to 2012-13, three of which were drawn encounters. The last game is scheduled at Thiruvananthapuram on 7 November.
The Indian top order batting, with superb stroke-makers in Dhawan, Sharma and Kohli, has to be tamed early if New Zealand hope to carry on the fight till the series-ending game.
Dhawan and Sharma put on a record 158-run partnership that went into the 16th over to ensure that India ended up with a plus-200 total despite a brief wobble towards the end.
The Black Caps’ new ball attack of Trent Boult and Tim Southee lacked discipline in Delhi. It’s a bit of a surprise that these two experienced Kiwi bowlers have been ineffective with yorkers at the death, unlike the Indian duo of Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar.