New Zealand vs India, 2nd T20I – India Predicted Playing XI

New Zealand vs India, 2nd T20I – India Predicted Playing XI

The Men in Blue might make a few changes in the must-win game.

India. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

In their first T20I game of the year, Team India looked extremely rusty. Playing against New Zealand, the side was handed over their biggest defeat in T20I cricket in terms of runs (80). A series of factors combined to bring out performance as bad as this one. There were some questionable decisions made with regards to the team selection.

Opting to play eight batsmen in the eleven backfired as the Blackcaps posted a massive total on the board. Also, there weren’t any sustainable partnerships that were built which messed things up further. The captain and the management will have to go back to the drawing board and decipher what exactly went wrong. Maybe they’d be looking at a few possible changes in the eleven with the series on the line.

Here is the Predicted Playing XI for Team India:

Openers (Rohit Sharma (c), Shikhar Dhawan)

Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan will continue opening the innings for India. The duo might not have had a good time in the last two ODIs and the first T20I. However, on their day, they are more than capable of taking the game away from the opposition.

Rohit Sharma is due for a big knock under his captaincy and the second T20I could be the perfect time for him to do the same. It will be a great achievement for him to be the first captain to win a T20I while playing in New Zealand. Shikhar Dhawan, on the other hand, looked good in the last game. Even though he was timing the ball well, he should try to spend more time in the middle and go on to build a big innings.

Middle Order (MS Dhoni (wk), Dinesh Karthik, Rishabh Pant)

Although it might seem to be slightly unfair call, the management might bench Vijay Shankar for the upcoming game. His services weren’t required with the ball due to the abundance of options. With the bat, he threw his wicket away at the wrong time even though he had a wonderful opportunity ahead of him. Leaving Shankar out to get an additional bowler in might bring in the much-needed balance.

Instead of Shankar, MS Dhoni could be batting at three. This will give him the time to settle in, assess the track and feed off the other batsmen initially. Once he gets his eye in, the veteran could prove to be lethal. Dinesh Karthik and Rishabh Pant are the kind of batsmen who would be much more effective in finishing off things rather than building an innings.

This duo might be a lot more successful if they bat at five and six or vice-versa. It will not be a surprise if Kedar Jadhav replaces one of these two men given that he offers a great deal with the ball as well. But, since he has got quite a few games in the ODIs, India could well look to continue with these two keepers.

All Rounders (Krunal Pandya, Hardik Pandya)

The Pandya brothers will sure get another chance as there is no one better than Rohit Sharma who understands their abilities. Krunal Pandya is a proven performer with the bat. He is capable of clearing the rope easily but he isn’t someone who gets going right from ball one. Therefore, there could be thought of batting him at four from where he can build the innings. With three big hitters coming after him, the senior Pandya can play with a lot of freedom and without any added pressure.

Hardik Pandya will be the man who will come in at seven. He has improved his game against the pacers and is capable of taking them to the cleaners. The Pandya brothers could come into bowl whenever required and might have to share the duties of the fifth bowler for India.

Bowlers (Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Siddarth Kaul, Yuzvendra Chahal)

The bowling attack looked quite fragile in the last game. On a batting track, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Yuzvendra Chahal never managed to gain the right kind of momentum with the other bowlers going for plenty. Hence, there could be two changes here in this department. Khaleel Ahmed, despite the opportunities, failed to create an impression. He might have even put his World Cup selection under threat with three consecutive poor shows.

Siddarth Kaul is the man most likely to replace him. The 28-year-old fared extremely well in both the T20Is that he played. Yet, it was quite surprising to see him omitted from the eleven. This might have been done largely keeping the World Cup plans in mind. Also, the spin twins – Kuldeep and Chahal are expected to be back to try and choke the opposition. Bringing Kuldeep back adds a lot more balance and gives the captain another extremely reliable bowling option.

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