India will have to fix some shortcomings to challenge New Zealand in the T20I for the second time here on Sunday.
The Indian pacemaker won by 21 runs in his T20I first at lunch on Friday after failing to adapt to the spin-prone stretch.
The off-spinner Washington Thunder’s first ball was attacked in his 3-over and should have been a big cue. From long enough, the Thunder got the ball and grabbed the surface, turning in sharply and catching a startled Finn Allen in the thigh. It should have been obvious that the pitch featured a spongy bounce, but speedsters Hardik Pandya, Ashdeep Singh and Umran Malik ignored it. Instead of sticking to cutters and slow balls, the trio bowled full wide with all their might. New Zealand hitters like to sit and swing against the fence. In particular he aims to correct the Yorkers after Arshdeep allowed 27 runs in a botched final.
Washington’s all-around performance was a silver lining. The Tamil Nadu cricketer maintained a tough length with a flat trajectory to tie batsmen. He also excelled on the racket, scoring several clean hits on 50 for 28 balls. With Ravindra Jadeja sidelined with injury and Axar Patel taking a personal break, Washington may just have an opportunity, but he definitely takes it seriously.
Washington began his career primarily as a top batter and evolved into a front-line spinner who also served as a lower middleclass finisher. “As I grew up, I was always moving up the ranks – achieving Open or 3rd place – but once I started playing a lot of T20 practice, that changed. You can wear it eventually,” Washington said at the post-game press conference at lunch. In T20Is, India’s batting relies heavily on Suryakumar Yadav. This was already evident in the first game, when his side’s chase went crazy when Suryakumar was sent off for 47 home. Shubman Gill, Ishan Kishan, Rahul Tripathi and more – all fired for his single-digit scores – will have to play their part and share the burden of winning with Suryakumar.
India: Hardik Pandya (Captain), Suryakumar Yadav (vice-captain), Ishan Kishan, Shubman Gill, Deepak Hooda, Rahul Tripathi, Jitesh Sharma, Washington Sundar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Arshdeep Singh, Umran Malik, Shivam Mavi, Prithvi Shaw, and Mukesh Kumar.
New Zealand: Mitchell Santner (Captain), Finn Allen, Michael Bracewell, Mark Chapman, Dane Cleaver, Devon Conway, Jacob Duffy, Lockie Ferguson, Ben Lister, Daryl Mitchell, Glenn Phillips, Michael Rippon, Henry Shipley, Ish Sodhi, and Blair Tickner.
(Match starts at 7 p.m.)