India v New Zealand
Saturday 4 November 13.30
TV: live on Sky Sports
India took a 1-0 lead in the three-match series with an impressive batting display in Delhi. Batting first they posted a whopping 202 with Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli all striking the ball well.
It was a particularly timely knock from Dhawan, who shared top-bat honours with Rohit after notching 80, as there had been some discussion about his spot in the team.
One man who won't play is Ashish Nehra. Rather surprisingly he was allowed a swansong by the selectors so Mohammed Siraj, a right-arm quick, looks most likely to replace the 38-year-old. Or they could pick an extra batter in the form of Manish Pandey.
The Kiwis looked as though they were suffering a hangover from the so-close-but-so-far defeat in the final ODI. Their bowling was sloppy and their fielding worse with Rohit, Dhawan and Kohli all given lives.
Understandably their batting flopped under the pressure of a run rate of more than ten an over. Only Kane Williamson and Tom Latham managed to stick around.
The decision to drop Ross Taylor for Tom Bruce in hindsight didn't look so smart. It would be harsh on Bruce, who has played only five T20s, to be ditched immediately but undoubtedly the Kiwis are stronger with Taylor.
Another possible change is Tim Southee having a rest with either Matt Hnery or Adam Milne coming in.
There has been only one T20 international played at Rajkot but the ground is an IPL regular. Most significant in the last ten games is a toss bias. Seven have been won the chaser. It is a good batting wicket with an average score of 170.
Kane Williamson, the New Zealand captain, said that "you don't become a bad fielding side overnight". True. It is also true that a good team doesn't become a bad one overnight so in Rajkot we are hoping the Kiwis show why they are rated as the No 1 side in the world.
Certainly the odds expect another New Zealand breakdown. India are 1.4740/85 with the Kiwis 3.052/1. We don't play at such short odds on T20 jollies so we have to show faith that New Zealand just had an off day.
It is relatively simple, though, to back them here. We do so with the toss providing a comfort rug. If they chase we are happy to get with them.
Top India runscorer
Kohli notched a half-century for Royal Challengers Bangalore on his last visit to Rajkot. He also has one fifty from two ODI appearances. Kohli is available at 3.65. That will be snaffled because, in reality, he is a 2.35/4 shot. Hardik Pandya also catches the eye because he batted at No 3 last time and is underrated at 9.617/2. Rohit is 3.412/5 and Dhawan 4.03/1.
Top New Zealand runscorer
Martin Guptill's miserable run of form in India continued. To the extent that New Zealand could ditch him and find room for Ross Taylor. That would see Williamson open the batting with Colin Munro. Willaimson is 10/3 for honours with Sportsbook and that is value.
New Zealand batting second 3.052/1 (1pt)