Pressure on India as New Zealand look to seal the series in Lucknow
The focus will be on India's top order with Prithvi Shaw waiting in the wings
New Zealand finally have a win on this tour. After being whitewashed in the ODI series, their new stand-in captain Mitchell Santner led from the front with the ball to give his side hope of taking home the T20I series. Things that were not working during the ODIs suddenly clicked: Finn Allen gave them a quick start and their bowlers struck with the new ball.
While Mark Chapman fell without scoring, and Glenn Phillips is yet to produce a substantial knock on the tour, the visitors will be backing them to come good in the second T20I in Lucknow, especially with pressure now on India to keep the series alive.
For India, things went exactly the opposite way in the first T20I. During the ODIs, their top order was causing New Zealand big trouble. In Ranchi, though, Shubman Gill, Ishan Kishan and Rahul Tripathi contributed only 11 runs from 17 balls as India slipped to 15 for 3 in the fourth over.
India do have Prithvi Shaw in the squad, but before the first T20I, Hardik Pandya had said that Shubman Gill was ahead of him in the pecking order. The team management is unlikely to change its mind after just one game.
India LWLWT (Last five completed T20Is, most recent first)
New Zealand WTLLW
New Zealand WTLLW
In the spotlight
Rahul Tripathi made his T20I debut during the Sri Lanka series. In his second game, he smashed 35 off just 16 balls, which included five fours and two sixes. All that inside the powerplay. After the game, Pandya had highlighted Tripathi's intent, for which he was drafted into the side. So a six-ball duck in Ranchi will not dent his confidence, as a couple of early blows from him can put the opposition on the back foot.
Glenn Phillips had landed in India on the back of a match-winning 63 not out off 42 balls against Pakistan in the ODI series decider, but his scores in three ODIs and the first T20I against India have been: 11 (20), 36 (52), 5 (7) and 17 (22). It's not just the low scores but also the strike rate. If he can find his form, it will really bolster New Zealand's middle order.
With Washington Sundar and Kuldeep Yadav bowling economic spells in Ranchi, while also picking up three wickets between them, Yuzvendra Chahal may have to sit out again. Arshdeep Singh had leaked 27 in the final over but until then he had figures of 1 for 24 from three overs. So he should retain his spot, especially with India thin on experience in the fast bowling department.
India (probable): 1 Shubman Gill, 2 Ishan Kishan (wk), 3 Rahul Tripathi, 4 Suryakumar Yadav, 5 Hardik Pandya (capt), 6 Deepak Hooda, 7 Washington Sundar, 8 Shivam Mavi, 9 Kuldeep Yadav, 10 Umran Malik, 11 Arshdeep Singh
New Zealand may not want to change a winning combination. That means left-arm seamer Ben Lister will have to wait for his debut.
New Zealand (probable): 1 Finn Allen, 2 Devon Conway (wk), 3 Mark Chapman, 4 Glenn Phillips, 5 Daryl Mitchell, 6 Michael Bracewell, 7 Mitchell Santner (capt), 8 Ish Sodhi, 9 Lockie Ferguson, 10 Jacob Duffy, 11 Blair Tickner
Pitch and conditions
All five T20Is hosted by the Ekana Stadium to date have been won by the side batting first. And with New Zealand defending 176 successfully in the first T20I despite a threat of dew in the second innings, both teams may prefer batting first after winning the toss.
Stats and trivia
- West Indies have featured in four out of the five T20Is played at this venue. India in only two.
- India's previous T20I in Lucknow was in February 2022. Yet, because of a combination of form, injury and rotation, only Kishan and Deepak Hooda from that XI may play on Sunday.
Himanshu Agrawal is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo