As expected, the runs flowed and it was India who drew first blood in Eden Park, Auckland as they romped home to a six-wicket win in the first T20 International (T20I). The second outing will also be staged at the same venue on Sunday (January 26) and runs should be the theme once more. The two nations have met each other 12 times in the shortest format of the game. New Zealand have the lead here having won eight times to India’s four. In the last five encounters though India are 3-2 ahead. Here's a quick look at the factors you should keep in mind while picking your fantasy team:
The weather is once again pleasant for the second game in Auckland with minimum to no chances of rain. The temperature is expected to hover around the 25 degree mark on match day.
Four T20Is have been played at Eden Park, in Auckland since the start of 2019 and it is fair to say it batsmen have enjoyed their time here. The short straight boundaries coupled with the true bounce of the surface here makes it one of the best batting surface not just in New Zealand but in the world. The average first innings score is a high 180/7.
Among the bowlers, spinners have been more effective here than their pace bowling counterparts having picked up a wicket every 15.8 deliveries. So packing your side with top-order batsmen and hard-hitters backed up by at least a couple of spinners should be imperative.
Among the different bowler types left-arm pacers have been the most effective. Since January 2019, they have returned a wicket every 10.8 balls here followed by left-arm orthodox spinners who have returned a wicket every 12.8 balls. While there are no left-arm fast bowlers in either side, both teams have their share of left-arm orthodox spinners. India have Ravindra Jadeja in their armoury while New Zealand have the wily Mitchell Santner in their setup. Both bowlers did reasonably well in the first game picking a wicket each and could be included in your team.
A combination of six frontline batsmen including the wicket-keeper, two all-rounders and three bowlers could be the way to go for this game.
Here is our fantasy team for the upcoming encounter between India and New Zealand:
Colin Munro, Martin Guptill, KL Rahul (c/wk), Virat Kohli, Kane Williamson, Shreyas Iyer, Shivam Dube, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah
Without the question of his place hanging over his head, KL Rahul just looks the part. He has looked every bit unstoppable and that is excellent news for him and India. His 27-ball 56 in the first T20 set up India’s chase to perfection and he will be ken on getting more. Moreover his wicketkeeping can also get you important points. Keep Rahul out of your team on your own peril!
Our first X-factor is Team India captain Virat Kohli. Kohli loves a contest and that was fairly visible in the first game as he smashed his way to a 32-ball 45. The Indian captain has been in exemplary form since the start of 2019 in the shortest format of game having smashed 567 runs in 13 innings averaging a strong 70.88. He loves playing New Zealand too as his average of 48.40 in six innings suggests. Kohli has sized up the Auckland surface and will be looking to do more damage come Sunday.
Colin Munro just loves playing India. And he proved that yet again in the first game on his way to 42-ball 59. His stats against India read a strong 307 runs in eight innings averaging 43.26. He also loves playing at Eden park. In 12 innings here, he has scored 395 runs striking at 193.60, which includes four half-centuries. He is one player who can help you score a lot of points in case he gets going.
Martin Guptill might not have been at his best in 2019 but seems to have found his touch in the new year. He looked at his imperious best in the first game smashing a 30-ball 19 and would have been disappointed at not going any further. What really makes it hard to leave Guptill out of the team is his numbers at Eden Park. In 13 innings at this venue, Guptill has amassed 538 runs which includes four half-centuries and a hundred. He will want similar returns on Sunday.