Virat Kohli is loved all over the world not only for his batting but for his kindheartedness and the respect he has for the players around. He is leading India towards some great heights; he has already won a majority of the TestMore
Despite the defeat in the second T20 International against New Zealand, it is safe to say that the mood of the Indian camp is upbeat at the moment.
The high-flying Indian team had come crashing down after the Kiwis thrashed them by 40 runs in the second game to square the three-match series 1-1.
Batting first, New Zealand had ridden on Colin Munro’s fantastic century to post a daunting 196 for two in the allotted 20 overs before a disciplined show from the bowlers helped the visitors to restrict the hosts to 156 for seven. But hours after the drubbing, the Men in Blue celebrated skipper Virat Kohli’s birthday with great enthusiasm, showing that the defeat did not dent their confidence.
— BCCI (@BCCI) November 4, 2017
Well, Kohli’s latest tweet just proves that how the players are enjoying each other’s company which is the reason behind the team’s stunning performances in the last couple of years or so. The skipper took to Twitter to post a short video of himself along with teammates Shikhar Dhawan and Hardik Pandya doing a dance move with the caption:
“One from last night, chilling with the boys! ?? @SDhawan25 @hardikpandya7”
— Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) November 7, 2017
Meanwhile, India’s hopes of winning the series-decider can get quashed, as rain is threatening to spoil the third and final T20I, scheduled in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday (November 7). The meteorological department is expecting windy conditions with a few spells of showers and thunderstorms which can spoil the newly-built Greenfield International Stadium’s first international game.
However, the authorities are confident of seeing a full game.
“The drainage facilities at the Sports Hub are very good. We have three super-soppers ready. The entire ground can be covered if necessary. Even if it rains during the match, it can be re-started within 15 minutes once the rain stops,” Jayesh George, the Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) secretary, said.
Rain will obviously be the last thing the teams would be expecting, as they would be eyeing a series-win.
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Former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar has leapt in under-pressure Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s defence after he was criticised for his slow pace innings against New Zealand in the second T20I which ultimately resulted in India losing the game by 40 runs.
Dhoni’s knock, nonetheless, has divided the cricketing fraternity. While some feel that the latest knock is another telling example of the former India skipper’s diminishing powers in the shortest format of the game, some are treating it as one bad day at the office.
The World Cup-winning skipper had walked into bat when India was reduced to 67 for four in the 10th over while chasing 197. With the team needing more than 10 runs per over, the situation demanded Dhoni to take the attack to the Kiwi bowlers right from the word go but surprisingly the 36-year old took his time, managing just 17 off the first 20 balls. He eventually managed to score 49 off 37, but by the time he began playing the big shots, it was too late.
As a result of the knock, Dhoni is facing the heat from several quarters including his former India nationals VVS Laxman and Ajit Agarkar, but Gavaskar has thrown his support firmly behind the wicketkeeper-batsman.
“VVS and Ajit are completely entitled to their opinion. They have played a lot of cricket for India, and it is their view. It might not necessarily be the selectors’ nor the captains’ view, and we just have to wait and see,” Gavaskar told NDTV.
Earlier, Laxman and Agarkar had said Dhoni should make way for a youngster in the shortest format of the game.
“I still feel it’s time for MS Dhoni to give youngsters a chance in T20 format. It will be an opportunity for a youngster to blossom and get confidence playing international cricket. He is definitely an integral part of ODI cricket,” Laxman had said after the second T20I.
“I think India must now look at other options, at least in T20Is. In one-day cricket, they seem to be happy with the role that he is playing. When you were the captain of the side, it was different. But just as a batsman, will India miss him, I don’t think so. In T20 cricket, it is a lot easier to make that transition as there is a lot of experience in that team apart from MS Dhoni now,” Agarkar had told ESPNcricinfo.
Gavaskar went on to say that when a cricketer crosses 30, people leave no stone unturned to find fault in his game.
“When somebody reaches an age beyond 30 then I think every time, all of us are looking to find fault with that over-30 person. We actually hasten somebody’s retirement from the game by demanding too much of the person,” Gavaskar said.
“We do not look at the guys under 30, who actually haven’t done anything but we tend to sort of overlook that. So, we will not have to look at the failure of others in the same innings. Hardik Pandya getting out for one by not picking up a googly. We will not look at that. We will not look at the fact that openers did not give the usual start. We will only point the finger at MS Dhoni. So that is unfortunate. So, that is India for you,” Gavaskar added.
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Former India opener Virender Sehwag has thrown his weight behind his former teammate MS Dhoni who is facing the heat after an uncharacteristic innings which affected India’s chase during their loss in the second T20I against New Zealand on Saturday (November 4).
The former India skipper had walked into bat when the Men in Blue were reduced to 67 for 4 in the 10th over in pursuit of a daunting 197. But while the situation demanded more than 10 runs per over, Dhoni failed to play according to the situation. The 36-year old’s strike-rate was less than 100 and was batting at 17 off 20 balls before hitting a six to take it over 100. But due to his knock, India could not get the impetus to chase down the big total and Kohli also found it tough to bail the team out of trouble.
The World Cup-winning skipper managed to score 49 off 37 balls but by the time he played some big shots it was too late as New Zealand won the match by 40 runs to level the three-match series. Dhoni’s knock, nonetheless, has once again given rise to debate over whether he should retire from the shortest format of the game with the likes of Ajit Agarkar and VVS Laxman opining that the wicketkeeper-batsman should quit.
However, Sehwag feels the team needs Dhoni in T20Is too and said that his former teammate will hang his boots at the right time.
“Team India needs MS Dhoni at the moment, even in T20 cricket. He will step down at the right time. He will never block the way for any young cricketer,” he told India TV.
Earlier, Laxman had said Dhoni should either bat at number 4 or should make way for any youngster.
“In T20s, MS Dhoni’s role is at No 4. He requires more time to get his eye in and then do the job. But today [Saturday] was a classical example because when Virat Kohli was batting, Dhoni had to give strike to Kohli. Kohli’s strike rate was 160, MS Dhoni’s strike rate was 80. That’s not good enough when India were chasing a mammoth total,” Laxman had said.
I still feel it’s time for MS Dhoni to give youngsters a chance in T20 format. It will be an opportunity for a youngster to blossom and get confidence playing international cricket. He is definitely an integral part of ODI cricket,” he had added.
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Even though New Zealand had scored a mammoth 196 for 2 in the do-or-die clash at Rajkot, they still had a long way to go. On a pitch where the batsmen were timing the ball with utmost ease, the New Zealand bowlers had their task cut against the high-flying Indian team which had scored 202 in the first match and had chased down a 200-plus total against Australia at the very same ground a few years ago.
New Zealand, however, made their intentions clear as they superbly began their defense, sending back both the in-form Indian openers Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma for single-digit scores in the second over. The onus was then taken by the spinners as New Zealand went on to win the game by 40 runs to keep the series alive.
Ish Sodhi was the standout bowlers for the visitors during the middle-overs as he conceded only 25 ran off his four overs and picked the important wicket of Hardik Pandya for just 1. And the leg-spinner was praised by his fellow spinner Mitchell Santner who too had a good outing in the last game.
“Lengths have been the key thing. Ish bowled a superb length, pulled it back and made it hard for the Indian batsmen to hit. I tried to do something pretty similar. Axar (Patel) and Yuzvendra Chahal bowled really well in Delhi. I thought they were unlucky in the last game. We have to change our lengths accordingly. We have to wait and see,” said Santner ahead of the series decider on Tuesday.
One of the features of the last match was how brilliantly Santner managed to keep MS Dhoni under check. When asked, he said:
“He is a very good player of spin and seam bowling. I guess at the start I try to keep it simple. I try to pull the length up and tuck him up a little bit. Also, I try to read the batsman as much as possible.”
Santner further said that the Kiwis would treat the series-decider just like any other game. But it won’t be foolish to say that New Zealand’s poor record in crunch games will be at the back of the players’ mind. Last year, the Kiwis had faltered in the final ODI match against India, and the story remained pretty much similar in this year’s ODI series too. Even during this year’s Champions Trophy, they exited the tournament after losing the do-or-die clash against Bangladesh.
“We would like to treat this like any other game. It is better than being two-nil down. We are excited about it,” the spinner said.
When asked whether the Men in Blue are under pressure and if it presented the Kiwis the best chance of winning a series here, Santner said:
“India have played very good cricket for a long time now in your conditions. They are tough to beat. We have taken it to the decider in the last two series. Both teams will want to win (tomorrow).
“They played well in Kanpur under pressure as well (to win the ODI series). We will turn up tomorrow and put up a good performance and try to take the series,” he added.
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India pace bowling spearhead Bhuvneshwar Kumar has lauded the efforts of his colleague and limited-over specialist Jasprit Bumrah for rising to the occasion with the white-ball.
The wily customer Bhuvneshwar revealed the unorthodox bowler in Bumrah had come a long way to instill confidence in his senior bowling partner when they are supposed to save runs against distinct oppositions in death bowlers.
“When you bowl with Bumrah, you have confidence that if you need to save runs later (at the death), if you bowl well, he will also do it with me,” Bhuvneshwar was quoted as saying by PTI.
Ahead of the Twenty20 international series decider against New Zealand Greenfield International Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram, the 27-year-old Meerut-born Bhuvneshwar went wicket-less in Rajkot where Kiwis leveled the series 1-1 following the 40-run win.
On the other side, Bumrah has worked hard on his bowling action while focusing on his fitness – to pay rich dividends for India.
“Bumrah has a different action, which creates problems for the batsmen. He has improved a lot of things with his action,” Bhuvneshwar added.
The 23-year-old Bumrah has emerged as one of the prominent figures for India with the ball, who has subsequently made things miserable for the batsmen while banking on his strength.
As many believe Bumrah action has played its part to trouble the batsmen, but the young bowler has raised the bar of his game while sweating out in nets to learn from his mistakes.
The Gujarat-based bowler Bumrah has relied on his stock bowl yorker followed by slower ones to deceive batsmen at his will from time-to-time.
“He had these yorkers and slower ones earlier as well but he has improved a lot,” Bhuvneshwar asserted.
Bumrah, who played 29 T20Is to claim 38 scalps while donning the colors has been far more effective which could further be justified by his impressive bowling average of 19.13 in the shortest version of the gentleman’s game.
Talking about their success, Bhuvneshwar admitted the fact by saying he is discussing the pros and cons with Bumrah, as the former felt it has had both the fast bowlers in Virat Kohli-led side, before the start of any game to bowl in tandem.
“Another good thing is that when the match begins, we talk to each other about the track, what strategy we can make. It’s of great help for both the bowlers,” Bhuvneshwar maintained.
Bhuvneshwar reiterated they are already studying the game while banking in their strategy being as the new-ball duo.
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The 27-year-old Bhuvneshwar, who played 22 T20Is, collected 20 wickets at an average of 26.65.
Virat Kohli’s fitness has been a revolution for in Indian cricket, and he has made sure that his fellow teammates have followed the trend. He credits his off-field fitness regimes for his on-field achievements and success. His fitness has not only inspired his Indian teammates but has also motivated many off the field as well. Kohli has a great fan following especially amongst the kids who aspire to be like him in the future.
India next plays New Zealand in Thiruvananthapuram, and the Kerala Government took full advantage of the fact, they invited Kohli and three other Indian players which included Dinesh Karthik and Axar Patel on an event where the Indian skipper urged thousands of school children to stay away from Drugs and substance abuse.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and state DGP Loknath Behara along with the Indian players took the oath with children at a packed Chandrasekharan Nair Stadium ahead of the series-deciding second T20I in the state capital.
The event was for the launch of an anti-Drugs campaign by the Kerala police named “Yes to Cricket and No to Drugs.” The special guests of the event also released a postal cover and Pink Balloons at the event.
A senior police officer said:
“Since cricket is the favourite sport of the country and cricketers influence the youth in a big way, the police force decided to make use of the opportunity to drive home the message.”
As far as the series is concerned, New Zealand won the second T20 by 40 runs to level the series 1-1 and set up an exciting series decider to be played on Tuesday in Thiruvananthapuram. The Kiwis came back stronger in the second T20 after a humiliating drubbing in the first T20.
New Zealand won the second T20 by 40 runs to level the series 1-1 and set up an exciting series decider to be played on Tuesday in Thiruvananthapuram. The Kiwis came back stronger in the second T20 after a humiliating drubbing in the first T20. New Zealand won the toss and chose to bat first and expressed their intentions from the word go as they went after the bowlers. Colin Munro scored his second international T20 century as he scored a brilliant unbeaten 109 off 58 deliveries.
The Indian openers failed miserably after a memorable opening wicket partnership in the first T20I, as they both lost their wickets in the second over to Trent Boult who picked up a four-wicket haul in the second T20. Indian skipper Virat Kohli was the top scorer for the Indian team as he scored another T20 half-century. MS Dhoni also scored a 49 runs innings but was heavily criticized for his low strike rate throughout the innings.
MS Dhoni’s numbers in the match aren’t that bad, but the point of concern is not a number of runs he scored in the match but his ability to accelerate at the time when the team needs him the most. He seems to have lost his ability to come out and smash the bowlers all around the park. The big question mark here is that does MS Dhoni really deserve to be in the T20 team?
His skills in the One Day format are still good enough to win India matches as he has time to set his eye first and then go for the kill, but this isn’t the case in the shorter format. Many former cricketers have questioned Dhoni’s position in the team.
VVS Laxman in a pre-match show said:
“In T20s, MS Dhoni’s role is at No 4. He requires more time to get his eye in and then do the job. But (the match on) Saturday was a classical example because when Kohli was batting, Dhoni had to give strike to Kohli. Kohli’s strike rate was 160, MS Dhoni’s strike rate was 80. That’s not good enough when India were chasing a mammoth total, I still feel it’s time for MS Dhoni to give youngsters a chance in T20 format. It will be an opportunity for a youngster to blossom and get confidence playing international cricket. He is definitely an integral part of ODI cricket,”
Sourav Ganguly also had a say on Dhoni’s capability in the T20 format:
“I still feel it’s time for MS Dhoni to give youngsters a chance in T20 format. It will be an opportunity for a youngster to blossom and get confidence playing international cricket. He is definitely an integral part of ODI cricket.”
Ahead of the much-awaited series-decider in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday (November 4), Indian and New Zealand spin spearheads- Yuzvendra Chahal and Ish Sodhi renewed their rivalries albeit far away from the cricket field and in a different discipline.
Well, the spinners used the most of their time when the teams were heading to Thiruvananthapuram by playing a game of chess. The Indian leg-spinner was a national level chess player in his early days before giving it up to focus solely on cricket. Chahal had represented the country at the Asian and World youth championships but left the game due to lack of funds and sponsors.
“To progress in chess, he needed about Rs. 50 lakh a year. But we could not find sponsors. So, he had to abandon the game. He does play it as a hobby these days,” his father had once revealed.
But despite giving up on the game, Chahal showed that he is still the man to beat on the 64 squares as he made light work of his New Zealand counterpart. The Indian spinner took to Twitter to post the final position of the board after he checkmated Sodhi’s King.
“Hard luck my brother ? @ish_sodhi #betterlucknexttime?,” he wrote.
— Yuzvendra Chahal (@yuzi_chahal) November 5, 2017
In reply, Sodhi wrote a funny message, stating how his teammate Matt Henry would not let him forget the defeat.
“Haha god samn it brother! Now its public, @Matthenry014 won’t let me forget it haha! Teach me how! #leggies,” Sodhi tweeted.
— Ish Sodhi (@ish_sodhi) November 5, 2017
And to save himself from getting embarrassed, Sodhi took on Chahal once again only to lose again. This time around, the New Zealand star himself posted an image of Chahal taking him on in the game and admitted that the Indian leggie is too good.
“Rematch has already happend… fair to say, chess champion for a reason ?? @yuzi_chahal #toogood,” he wrote.
— Ish Sodhi (@ish_sodhi) November 5, 2017
Chahal then tried to pull his leg by tweeting 2-0 with face with tears of joy emoji, to which Sodhi replied:“No worries, long flight ??”
No worries, long flight ?? https://t.co/pMe7eUcwgf
— Ish Sodhi (@ish_sodhi) November 5, 2017
Sodhi, however, later admitted that Chahal is far superior when it comes to chess.
“We played two games and it’s fair to say he hammered me. I didn’t expect him to be as cunning as what he was. I was always on the defensive. It was pretty funny for everyone,” he told stuff.co.nz.
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The Kiwis have been the most competitive side on the Indian soil over the last year or so. When all other teams have been beaten comprehensively in India, New Zealand have been the only team which has put up some fight.
After narrowly losing the three-match ODI series 1-2, they are yet again with a chance to win their first ever bilateral series in India when the two-sides take the field at Green Field International Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram.
After a dominating performance by the Men in Blue in the opening encounter in Delhi, the visitors made a strong comeback in the 2nd encounter at Rajkot. Riding on a brilliant century by opener Colin Munro New Zealand posted a mammoth 196 on the board and the bowlers backed up the good work of the batsmen and eventually handed New Zealand a convincing victory in the end by 40 runs.
The ploy to give Mohammed Siraj his maiden international cap didn’t go according to plan as the pacer ended up conceding 53 runs in his allotted four overs. He was given no respite by the likes of Munro and Guptill as the duo shared a brilliant opening stand of 105 runs to get the visitors off to a sensational start.
Kuldeep Yadav hasn’t played a single game after a bad day in the office during the opening ODI but the captain Virat Kohli might be tempted in bringing him back for the crucial encounter but it might again affect the combination. Axar Patel is unlikely to be dropped and if that is the case then Kuldeep’s return seems unlikely especially after losing the previous encounter due to the sheer absence of some good batsmen towards the end of the chase.
India went with as many as 6 proper bowling options in a game which is typically suited for the batsmen. In all likelihood, Siraj will face the axe and Manish Pandey might be his possible replacement. The rest of the playing XI is expected to remain the same.
India’s Predicted XI: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, MS Dhoni, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah
The visitors will be delighted with their impressive performance in the second encounter which allowed them to keep the 3 match series alive. Colin Munro was at his imperious best as he smashed the Indian bowlers all around the Saurashtra Cricket Association Ground to race off to 108 of just 50 odd deliveries.
The bowling department was yet again impressive especially the spinners. Ish Sodhi has been impressive in the couple of games so far and will look to make his mark in the decider tomorrow. The team is a well-balanced one and will be excited yet again at the prospect of winning their maiden bilateral series in India irrespective of formats.
Latham and Ross Taylor who helped New Zealand win the 1st ODI were not picked for the previous T20I and after their convincing win, it doesn’t look like they will return for the decider. Tim Southee who was expensive in the first encounter was also dropped from the 2nd T20I and is unlikely to make a comeback in the decider.
New Zealand’s Predicted XI: Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Kane Williamson, Tom Bruce, Glenn Phillips, Henry Nicholls, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Adam Milne, Ish Sodhi, Trent Boult
In the prediction article for the second encounter, I had said that despite India’s terrific run New Zealand might force their way back into the series and it is exactly what happened. So for the 3rd match, the Men in Blue are expected to make a strong comeback and ensure the Kiwis doesn’t end up winning their maiden bilateral series in India. So I stick with India to win yet another series at home.
After a dominating performance in the second T20I in Rajkot to level the three-match series 1-1, the touring New Zealand side will try to seal the series when they take on the host in the series decider scheduled to be played at Thiruvananthapuram on 7th of November.
New Zealand captain, Kane Williamson will look to keep an unchanged side as the players will be confident after an impressive show in the last match. The Kiwis will go with four specialist bowlers and a genuine all-rounder in the form of Collin de Grandhomme to strengthen their bowling line-up.
The team management will once again look forward to the batsmen to post a competitive total on board after they posted a mammoth total of 196 runs in the last match.
With that, here is a look at the Predicted XI of the Blackcaps as they will look to end the tour on a positive note.
Martin Guptill: The right-handed opener has been a star performer for this Kane Williamson-led side. He can change the game on his day in the shortest format. However, he didn’t have an outstanding series but showed some glimpses in the last match when a played a magnificent knock of 45 runs to give his team a solid start. He will look to capitalize the new found touch and make the most in the last match of the tour.
Colin Munro: Colin Munro has been the most successful player for the New Zealand side on this tour. A hard-hitting player by nature, Munro has shown his class. As he registered a personal best of 109 runs in the last match, the team will once again look forward to this swashbuckling opener to perform for the team’s cause. His two match-winning knocks of 75 runs and 109 runs are the only one where the team has tasted victory.
Kane Williamson: The young captain of this New Zealand team has not been in his prime touch in the ongoing series, but will like to end the tour on a positive note. Currently, one of the best batsmen in the world, Williamson possesses all the class to outplay any bowler. His side will rely heavily on him to win the T20 series after missing on the ODI series shortly.
Tom Bruce: The 26-year-old right-handed batsmen who made his T20 debut earlier this year has represented New Zealand in 6 matches so far and has scored at a healthy average of 33. Known for his muscle power, the middle-order batsman can be a severe blow to the opponent if he gets going. Getting out cheaply in the earlier matches, this will be the perfect stage to showcase his class and prove his worth.
Glenn Phillips: The young wicket-keeper batsman, who missed out on the first T20I in Delhi, couldn’t get a chance to bat in the second match as the top-order showed some pure class to out power the Indian bowling line-up. However, he had a fair show behind the stumps taking two catches, and will certainly retain his spot in the first XI.
Henry Nicholls: The aggressive left-handed has had good knocks in patches but has failed to provide the team with consistency. He got a good start in few matches but wasn’t able to make it count as he threw his wicket playing rash shots. The team will heavily rely on him to up the momentum in the middle overs and score some quick runs in the end.
Colin de Grandhomme: He is the only genuine all-rounder in the team chipping in with both bat and ball when needed. Playing all the matches, he was quite average throughout the tour and will look to make a mark in the last match. Williamson will look forward to this all-rounder to help his team clinch the series. Grandhomme has the quality to muscle right from the first ball and can provide important breakthroughs bringing in an important balance in the team.
Mitchell Santner: The slow left-arm bowler, who made his T20I debut way back in 2015, has become a regular in the team now. Using his height quite well, he has proved to be decisive at times in the subcontinent pitches. Having had a moderate series so far, Santner will try and do justice to his name when he takes on the field for one last time on this tour.
Adam Milne: The experienced right-arm first bowler has had a tough series in this kind of pitches as he had picked only three wickets in the four matches he has featured. Milne has the quality of dismantling a batsman with his raw pace, but he hasn’t found his rhythm on this tour. The 25-year-old cricket will be eager to prove the selectors a point when he shares the new ball with Trent Boult.
Ish Sodhi: The leg-break bowler, who was picked for the twenty over format originally, was included in the squad after Todd Astle suffered an injury. Playing both the matches, Ish Sodhi has been one of the successful bowlers for the visiting side as he has bowled with good economy rate and giving important breakthroughs. The team will look forward to this wrist spinner to outfox the batsmen with his variations.
Trent Boult: the vastly experienced left-arm speedster Trent Boult has once again proved his worth once against as he has been the pick of the bowlers for the Kiwi side. He has been accurate with the length and has bowled with some good pace to trouble the Indian batsmen. With a tally of 9 wickets so far in this series, the mighty bowler will look to continue his good form to hand over his team an important series win.