After the damp squib that was Visakhapatnam, India take on New Zealand in Chennai in what will be the only Twenty20 international of the two-match series and once again the focus will be on Yuvraj Singh as he looks to resume his career after recovering from a life-threatening malignant disease.
Although India are favourites, it won't be a cakewalk. They have yet to beat New Zealand in the shortest format of the game and going by the unpredictable nature of Twenty20, New Zealand will believe they are on an even keel with the hosts.
India’s batting remains its strength. Starting at the top, Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir are tailor-made pair for this format. Though Sehwag has not been in the best of form of late, one can never take him lightly. Gambhir had a strong IPL 5 and has proven himself in Twenty20.
At No. 3 will be Virat Kohli, who is going through a purple patch since the 2011 World Cup, having scored runs in every format of the game.
Yuvraj should return to the scene at his preferred No. 4 position and will be hoping to get some time in the middle before the ICC World Twenty20 kicks-off in a week's time. The hosts also have in the ranks a Twenty20 specialist in Suresh Raina, who after an ordinary Test series will hope to shine in his preferred format.
In the bowling department, all eyes will be on Harbhajan Singh after a long layoff. The resurgence of Irfan Pathan in Sri Lanka is another positive for India and gives the hosts a genuine allrouner. R Ashwin, after taking 18 wickets in two Tests against New Zealand, remains a big threat. Zaheer Khan and Ashok Dinda are the two fast bowlers MS Dhoni is likely to go with.
New Zealand have been struggling to stitch together victories for a while, but they do have a formidable line-up for Twenty20 cricket. In particular, the welcome faces of Jacob Oram, Daniel Vettori and Kyle Mills will be a boost as the visitors chase a turnaround in fortunes. Ron Nicol, Martin Guptill and Brendon McCullum will form the top order, with Ross Taylor, James Franklin and Kane Williamson more than capable in the middle order. An injury to bowling allrounder Nathan McCullum may give a chance to Ronnie Hira in the playing XI.
India: 1 Virender Sehwag, 2 Gautam Gambhir, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Rohit Sharma/Yuvraj Singh, 5 Suresh Raina, 6 MS Dhoni (capt/wk), 7 Irfan Pathan, 8 R Ashwin, 9 Harbhajan Singh, 10 Zaheer Khan, 11 Ashok Dinda
New Zealand: 1 Rob Nicol, 2 Martin Guptill, 3 Brendon McCullum, (wk) 4 Ross Taylor (capt), 5 Kane Williamson, 6 James Franklin, 7 Jacob Oram, 8 Daniel Vettori, 9 Nathan McCullum/Ronnie Hira, 10 Tim Southee, 11 Kyle Mills.
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