India will look to clinch the series on a batsman friendly pitch in Rajkot

When the Kiwis and the men in Blue meet at Rajkot for the second T20I on Saturday, the Indian team will play without two of the local cricketers who have made the country proud on numerous occasions- Cheteshwar Pujara and Ravindra Jadeja. With Pujara only being considered for the longest format of the game, it was not a surprising move at all but with the team’s intention to develop and nurture a seam bowling all-rounder like Hardik Pandya and give chances to wrist spinners instead of finger spinners, the likes of R. Ashwin and RavindraJadeja, who were fair to say a pale shadow of themselves in their last few appearances in limited overs cricket, may have to wait for their chance again.

Virat Williamson

In the ongoing domestic season India have not been beaten after the first ODI in Mumbai and under Virat’s captaincy, India have looked impressive. But India are also aware that New Zealand has the players who can change the course of the match and the series through their impact performances especially in the shortest format of the game where it has not lost to India before the farewell match for Ashish Nehra at Kotla on Wednesday.

Under the supervision of BCCI curator Vishvajitsinh Padhiar, a lot of activity happened around the pitch on the eve before the match at the Saurashtra Cricket Ground. The wicket at Rajkot has always been batsman friendly. In the only T20 international played here four years ago, Australia made a whopping 201, but that was not all, India chased it successfully the star of the show being Yuvraj Singh who scored an unbeaten 57 ball 77 and helped India win with 2 balls to spare. With the pitch reserved for the game being brownish in color and no real covering of grass, those watching the match at the venue can expect a high scoring delight. That being said, it is often the bowlers who make the difference in a high scoring encounter, the case in point being the last ODI where India’s death bowling made the difference in the results.

From the New Zealand’s perspective, Martin Guptill and Kane Williamson will need to step up to the occasion, since a defeat in the 2nd T20I will mean the Kiwis will return home without a trophy alongside their name. If the duo come good, Indian bowlers are sure to have a tough time in the middle.

Play starts at 7pm (IST).

The squad

India: ViratKohli (C), Rohit Sharma, ShikharDhawan, ShreyasIyer, Dinesh Karthik, M.S. Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, YuzvendraChahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, JaspritBumrah, Kuldeep Yadav, K.L. Rahul, Manish Pandey and Mohammed Siraj.

New Zealand: Kane Williamson (C), Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Ross Taylor, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Trent Boult, Tom Bruce, Colin de Grandhomme, Matt Henry, Adam Milne, Glenn Philips, Mitchell Santner, IshSodhi and Tim Southee.