India vs New Zealand 2nd T20I: Preview
India vs New Zealand 2nd T20I: Yuvraj Singh was the story at Visakhapatnam, a capacity crowd had thronged inside the stadium in the anticipation of two major milestones. Visakhapatnam was hosting its first ever T20I match and it was to be a special match as well as born again Indian batsman, Yuvraj Singh was expected to start his second innings on the cricket field. The weather gods though had different ideas as torrential rain meant that the match was a non-starter. The two teams have now moved further south to Chennai but the rain clouds seem to have followed them as well. Will there be a match in Chennai? Will Yuvraj and Harbhajan make their comeback into international cricket? Will the two teams get some reasonable practice before the T20 world cup?
The washout at Vizag meant that both teams were robbed of some meaningful workout in an actual match situation. There is no room left for any sort of experimentation as both teams might enter the park on Tuesday with their best possible combinations. India will be back with their tried and trusted opening combination of Sehwag and Gambhir, the middle order looks strong with the presence of a set of personnel who are well equipped to handle the pressure situations of a T20 match. Ashwin will be playing in his home-ground, an incentive perhaps to be included ahead of Harbhajan Singh. Balaji attended the customary pre-match press conference from the Indian side but was not committal about the team combination.
Despite the losses in both Test matches, New Zealand are a difficult opposition in the shorter formats of the game. Their combination of several bits and pieces players comes in handy in such scenarios. The IPL has meant that most of the Kiwis have a fair idea about the pitches and the conditions of the grounds. Another positive is the return of form of Jacob Oram, on his day the mighty Jake is a difficult customer to deal with. With plenty of depth in both batting as well as in bowling units, the Kiwis have in them to go a long way towards achieving victory.
Both teams will be hungry to show their wares on the park, but it is the weather god that might have the final say. There has been showers on most of the days leading up to the match but the forecast looks good on the match day. Both teams and the people in Chennai will be hoping that it stays so.
India will be sweating about their bowling combinations. Will Ashwin edge out Harbhajan in the likely scenario of just one spinner playing? If India opt for 5 bowlers, it will mean that Rohit Sharma might have to warm the benches.
Daniel Vettori will be back for New Zealand after recovering from an injury which saw him miss the Tests.
Trivia and Stats:
Chennai will host its first ever T20I match.
Daniel Vettori needs just 2 more wickets to become the leading wicket taker for New Zealand in T20I matches.
New Zealand have never lost a T20I match against India. They have won three of the four matches played with one washed out.
The long lay-off did not rust my skills in any way. It's been a competitive three years in IPL and Ranji Trophy as well as some other first-class matches - Lakshmipathi Balaji is confident about his skills.
It's unfortunate that the match got washed out a couple of nights ago. It's disappointing ahead of a major tournament. It would've been good to play against a quality team in India - Kyle Mills feels that winning against India will provide momentum.