KL%20Rahul

India v New Zealand
Friday 19 November 13:30
TV: live on Sky Sports

India unbalanced

India started to put the disappointment of their World Cup campaign behind them with a five-wicket success over the Kiwis in game one in Jaipur. It was more fraught than it perhaps should have been as they left themselves ten to get in the final over.

It would be fair to blame that on a lack of a gung-ho attitude with the bat. Ishan Kishan can’t get into this XI because India are stubborn about splitting KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma in the opening slot. We don’t like Venkatesh Iyer, another opener, at No 5, either.

They do bat all the way down to No 9, though with Bhuv Kumar. And Rohit is a vast improvement on Virat Kohli as skipper. Perhaps in time the handbrake will be let off.

Probable XI Rahul, Rohit, Yadav, Pant, Iyer, Venkatesh, Axar, Ashwin, Bhuv Kumar, D Chahar, Siraj,

New Zealand could tinker

New Zealand showed admirable professionalism to take India to the wire just days after their defeat by Australia in the final. But are they learning quick enough?

Against the Aussies they were guilty of just not being aggressive enough and the same was true again with a poor powerplay. Martin Guptill and Mark Chapman were able to accelerate but they need to be targeting 180s.

Why didn’t they cut loose? Perhaps there is little faith in what comes from No 5 down. Tim Seifert is struggling, Rachin Ravindra has a lot of work to do to be a No 6 at the top level while Mitchell Santner’s batting is not on an upward curve. They need Jimmy Neesham to come back in.

Kane Williamson or Kyle Jamieson are both unavailable. Santner’s spin is likely to prove important over the series to combat India’s batting combination.

Possible XI Guptill Mitchell Chapman, Philips, Seifert, Neesham, Santner, Southee, Astle, Ferguson, Boult

Pitch report

Five of the last six and six of the last ten at Ranchi have been won by the team batting second. But those fixtures were in 2018. There were six scores of 150 or more in the first dig but nothing higher than 179.

For game one we had a good winner at 5/6 that both teams would score 150 or more. But that’s been cut to 8/13 and with the surface, albeit a while ago, looking not quite as good for batters, we’d be inclined to take extremes on the Kiwis runs line batting first. There could be cheap lays at 130 and 140. If the runs par line is in the low 160s we could well short it because of worries over that Kiwi batting.

Kiwis can come jollies

India are no better than 1.321/3 which is skinny in the extreme. With the Kiwis at 4.03/1 it is a relatively simple task to find a way to get with them.

To be on the safe side we’ll keep that historic toss bias with us and put faith in New Zealand being tight and efficient in the field as they so often are.

If they can keep India to the 160s, or low 170s the gamble will then rely on a platform from two of the top three. We’re looking for marginal Kiwi favouritism to come with 60 or 70 on the board one down and then getting out. Lay back at double the stake and it’s an easy afternoon’s viewing.

Tops value

Daryl Mitchell had a superb World T20 so it is a surprise to see him as big as 4/1 to top for the Kiwis, particularly as we know he will open. It’s not often you get such a price about a guy who has the opportunity to bat for longest and take advantage of the powerplay.

Ishan averages 40 on this ground with a strike rate of 150 from four matches so the 4/1 has appeal. If he plays does he replace Rahul and open? Probably. Sky Yadav who topped in Jaipur is 9/2 which is toppy for a No 3.

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