New Zealand vs India 2nd T20I Preview: Fingers crossed as weather threatens to call the shots once again
The conditions in Mount Maunganui will be similar to that in India pitch-wise but with the wet weather around in recent times, there will be purchase for the pace bowlers in the air at least, if not from the surface.
Competition for spots
The three-match T20 series between India and New Zealand being played hot on the heels of the 2022 T20 World Cup is being mostly looked at from the lens of teams pressing reset and adopting a more aggressive approach in a format which demands it.
However, with the next T20 World Cup two years away and the focus now gradually shifting to the ODI World Cup in India in 2023, the stakes are not sky high and the players can let their hair down and enjoy themselves a little bit.
That said, given the cut throat competition around various teams all over the world nowadays, even when there isn't a lot of context to the series, players are always playing for their spots and trying to put their best foot forward.
As unfortunate as it may sound, the weather in New Zealand has thrown a spanner in the works of both teams. After the first T20 in Wellington was washed out without even the toss being possible because of the incessant rain, things are not looking good at Mount Maunganui either where the second T20 is set to be played.
The ground is based in an area called Bay of Plenty in New Zealand and that is exactly how the rain is expected to come, with precipitation forecast at over 90% around the start time, with thunderstorms expected as well.
There is a chance of wind blowing at 24 km per hour. With the ground being open on all sides, the wind will play a huge part if we manage to see any action. The boundaries are at around 65 yards and more than the batters targeting one side over the other due to the length of the playing field, the tactics will be focused around playing down the wind and not trying to challenge it.
The conditions here will be similar to that in India pitch-wise but with the wet weather around in recent times, there will be a lot of purchase for the pace bowlers in the air at least, if not from the surface.
India's problem of plenty
Team India have several contenders for the top three spots with Deepak Hooda, Ishan Kishan, Sanju Samson, Shreyas Iyer and Shubman Gill competing among each other. There can also be a wild card entry in the form of Rishabh Pant who hasn't quite been able to deliver in T20 Internationals yet. But, knowing the pedigree that the player possesses, there might be a thought in the team management to give him a fair run at the top of the order and see how he goes.
Bracewell vs Santner/Sodhi
With Martin Guptill dropped from the squad, Finn Allen taking his place alongside Devon Conway the top of the order and Adam Milne replacing Trent Boult in the playing XI in all likelihood, the only point of discussion for the Kiwi's will be the inclusion of Michael Bracewell.
If he plays, one of Mitchell Santner or Ish Sodhi will have to sit out.
Predicted Playing XIs
India: Deepak Hooda, Ishan Kishan, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya (captain), Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Harshal Patel/Umran Malik, Deepak Chahar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Arshdeep Singh
New Zealand: Finn Allen, Devon Conway (wicket-keeper), Kane Williamson (captain), Glenn Phillips, Daryl Mitchell, Jimmy Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Lockie Ferguson, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Adam Milne
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