The Big Picture
The series has been one-sided thus far. One side turns up, the other simply refuses to fight- resulting in almost every game being a lop-sided affair.
India has largely dominated the tour- winning the 5-match series, 4-1, but the two occasions they haven't turned up, they have been pummeled to record defeats- in the 4th ODI and now in the first T20I of the 3-match series.
New Zealand has been India's nemesis ever since both sides started playing T20I cricket. They remain the only side against whom the Men in Blue have more defeats than victories [W- 2, L- 7].
T20I series gives a team a chance to test their fringe players and experiment with their playing combination. India's latest T20I defeat to New Zealand was a result of the team experimenting with the playing 11. India played three all-rounders in their playing 11, leaving out their most valuable wicket-taker in this format- Kuldeep Yadav, and with the specialists in Kumar and Chahal having an off-day, the Kiwi batsmen, especially Tim Siefert, took a liking to the likes of the Pandya brothers and co, to amass 219 runs in 20 overs.
Chasing 220 was always going to be an arduous task despite the short boundaries and a flat track. India lost Rohit Sharma cheaply and once Shikhar Dhawan was done in by a brute of a yorker by Lockie Ferguson, any chance of the visitors' chasing down the total rested on the likes of Rishabh Pant, Dhoni and Karthik.
But, New Zealand outplayed the Indians in almost every facet of the game on Tuesday. The spin duo of Santner [2-24] and Sodhi [2-26] and debutant all-rounder Daryll Mitchell [1-13] choked the life of India's chase by claiming 7-63 between them in 9.2 overs, with the visitors losing 4-13 in the space of 12 balls, including the prize wicket of Rishabh Pant, who looked well out of sort on Wednesday.
The top-order failure in the ODI series was at the heart of Kiwis 1-4 loss, but on Wednesday, Tim Seifert's swashbuckling display of 84 displayed what a difference a good start can make. It also handed the hosts a lead for the first time in the series, something they would hope to build-on as India search for their maiden T20I win on New Zealand soil.
Venue- Eden Park, Auckland
When- Friday, February 08, 2019, 11:30 AM IST
New Zealand- WWLLL
- India is yet to win a T20I on New Zealand soil. Wednesday's loss was their third defeat in a row, dating back to a 0-2 series loss in 2009.
- Yuzvendra Chahal needs five wickets to become the second Indian bowler to complete 50 T20I wickets.
- India is yet to lose a T20I series ever since they lost to the West Indies [0-1] back in Florida in 2016.
- India's W/L ratio against the Kiwis is 0.28- lowest against any opposition.
The last time a T20I was played at this venue, 486 runs were scored across 40 overs with Australia pulling off a record run-chase of 244. With short boundaries and a drop-in pitch, expect a plethora of runs.
Team News & Playing 11
New Zealand played a near-perfect game, the other night at Wellington and may not like to tinker with their playing 11. The only possible change can be Jimmy Neesham coming in place of Scott Kuggeleijn.
Playing 11- Tim Seifert, Colin Munro, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Daryl Mitchell, James Neesham, Colin de Grandhomme, Tim Southee, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Lockie Ferguson
India might rope in Kuldeep Yadav into the playing 11 at the expense of one all-rounder while Mohammad Siraj could come in place of Khaleel Ahmed.
Playing 11- Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant, MS Dhoni, Vijay Shankar, Krunal Pandya/Kuldeep Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammad Siraj/Khaleel Ahmed, Bhuvneshwar Kumar