India face Kiwis in do-or-die game
Auckland, February 7
India will be looking for a strong comeback against New Zealand in the second T20 International tomorrow after an embarrassing loss in the first match in Wellington on Wednesday. It was the day when nothing went right for India — the Kiwis hammered their bowlers to post a gigantic 219 and then bowled out the high-flying Indian batting line-up for 139.
Tomorrow, India could replace rookie pacer Khaleel Ahmed with either Siddarth Kaul or Mohammad Siraj. The spinners, Krunal Pandya and Yuzvendra Chahal, did all right but the team management might consider including Kuldeep Yadav. The lack of fight in the run chase was a big disappointment, as captain Rohit Sharma said after the loss. “As a team, we have been good at chasing down targets, which is why we play with eight batsmen. We believe that whatever the target is, we can chase it down, but we just couldn’t do it tonight,” Rohit had said after the game.
The stand-in skipper himself would like to make amends after scoring just 1 run in the loss. Besides, a significant contribution will be expected from Rishabh Pant, who is in the running for a World Cup berth. He had scored just four off nine balls before spinner Mitchell Santner cleaned him up with a yorker.
While it’s a must-win game for India, a victory will seal the series for the hosts, who were outplayed 4-1 in the preceding ODI series. Captain Kane Williamson couldn’t be happier with the showing in the first T20I, but wants his team to fully focus on the job at hand. “It was a complete performance that doesn’t happen every day, hope we can keep the momentum through the series,” he said.