Left-arm spinner Axar Patel said that the sweep policy adopted by the New Zealanders to counter spinners will not affect the Indian bowlers much in the second T20 International match of the three-match series. The second T20I will be played in Rajkot. Team India is leading the series 1-0.
New Zealand batsmen Tom Latham and Ross Taylor relied on sweeps and reverse-sweeps shots against the spinners rather than hitting them down the ground in the first One Day International at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, which the visitors won by 6 wickets.
Ahead of the 2nd T20I in Rajkot, the local boy during the pre-match press conference said:
“After the first ODI match, we got the idea that they will use sweep shots to counter us. Our strategy was to use different angles, from over the wicket or around the wicket, to disturb them. Our focus was on variations, sometimes to pitch short, to counter their sweep attack.”
On being quizzed about the Rajkot wicket, Axar said:
“This is my home ground, I know how the pitch will behave. My plans are ready to bowl at this pitch…”
After a brilliant show in the first match at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in Delhi, India will aim to seal the three-match series.
Asked about the dangerous batsman in the New Zealand squad, Axar without any hesitation said it was Tom Latham.
“Tom Latham is a dangerous batsman currently in the New Zealand squad.”
In the second T20I, the Men in Blue will once again rely on the openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, who blasted identical half tons to set the tone with a 158-run record opening stand and guide the hosts post a massive 202/3.
After the retirement of veteran pacer Ashish Nehra, Kohli could now play with the four bowlers or might include wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav in the playing XI because of the conditions.
The match between the two top sides in T20 will start at 7:00 PM IST.
India: Virat Kohli (Captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Lokesh Rahul, Manish Pandey, Shreyas Iyer, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni (WK), Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Ashish Nehra (only for first T20I).
New Zealand: Kane Williamson (c), Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Trent Boult, Tom Bruce, Colin de Grandhomme, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Adam Milne, Colin Munro, Glenn Phillips (wk).