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Sunday, August 02, 2009

India vs New Zealand 2nd Twenty20 2009: Preview & Live Score

(This entry was originally posted on Thursday, February 26th, 2009)

This is the match that has created perhaps the highest amount of interest and passion among Indian fans home and abroad. It has become a very important match for Indian supporters because before the start of the New Zealand tour, all the supporters and reporters were too much confident and they felt that New Zealand would not be a worthy opponent. They had these kinds of feeling because in the last few months, team India has destroyed Australia, England and Sri Lanka. Well, their intense confidence has received a major shock in the first Twenty20 match against New Zealand yesterday. Tomorrow is 27 February 2009 and India is going to play second Twenty20 match against New Zealand in Wellington.

Match: New Zealand vs India, Second Twenty20

Date: 27 February 2009

Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington

Time: Local 19.00 (06.00 GMT)

I do not perhaps need to remind you that New Zealand won the first Twenty20 match by 7 wickets. Indian batsmen started off well in the first match, but they lost wickets pretty regularly and if Suresh Raina did not keep his wicket until last moment, Dhoni boys would not have crossed the 150 mark. Batsmen were little impatient while batting on the wicket which was really bating friendly. Another thing is that many times, Indian batsmen were defeated on the low bounce, as New Zealand pacers brought variety in their deliveries. Spinner Vettori was another problem for the visiting team and I was really surprised to see Indian batsmen struggling against a spinner in New Zealand condition which is idle for pacers. My surprise extended when I saw Harbhajan Singh doing similar job during New Zealand innings.

Despite excellent bowling from Harbhajan Singh, India could not put pressure on the home side and New Zealand easily reached the target with 7 balls in hand. Irfan Pathan failed to show his bowling skill that he displayed during India’s triumph in Twetyn20 World Championship in 2007. Reports out in the media suggest that Dhoni might include his favorite Twenty20 specialist Praveen Kumar in the squad for the second Twenty20 international. Another important thing is that Indian team now must show enough resistance against New Zealand pacers as well as spinner Vettori who was highly successful in the first match. Indian pace duo Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma played a big role behind term India’s successes over the last few series, specially against Australia and England at home. So, if India wants to save the Twent20 series, Zaheer and Ishant must show something special. Another pair who was instrumental behind India’s success over the last six months is their opening pair Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag. India now expects another match winning opening stand from the two in-form openers. Sehwag’s fiery start was really awesome, but as I mentioned earlier that, India batsmen were little impatient in the first match. So, the in-form players like Sehwag, Gambhir, Yuvraj and Captain Dhoni must take responsibility, if India is to level the series, winning the second Twenty20 international.

New Zealand, as expectedly, is very much confident after their easy victory in the first match. They dominated over the visiting side in all three departments. Their bowlers were tricky and could successfully get the best out of the wicket. Captain Vettori led from the front with their left arm spin. Their batsmen played accordingly, especially McCullum, Guptill and Oram, who made a strong come back in the first match. Overall, I do not think that Vettori has anything to worry about, except one thing. Vettori knows it very well that this Indian squad has been in winning ways over the last six months and they have some excellent bunch of players who have been in excellent form of recent. So, they can bounce back strongly in the second match and that could be a disaster for the home side.

Well, there is another point that should be taken into consideration here. India defeated Australia and England at home pretty comfortably and demolished Sri Lankan team in their own soil. However, they did not have to face a condition like New Zealand over the last six months. Even in Sri Lanka, they got a home-like condition where they did not have to struggle to adapt to the condition. However, now in New Zealand, Indian team, consisting of a number of young players who did never tour New Zealand earlier, is facing a strong challenge from the condition where they faced tough challenge during their previous tour in the country. India was severely defeated in both test and ODI series during their last tour of New Zealand when they had players like Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble who were all experienced, but this time, Indian team has inexperienced players like Suresh Raina, Gambhir, Rohit Sharma, Pathan brothers and many more. In fact, Captain Dhoni did not have prior experience of facing New Zealand in their previous tour to New Zealand. So, this is an important thing to point out.

Well, New Zealand team has the advantage of the home condition, but they also have an inexperienced side and they are not anywhere close the team they were couple of years back. New Zealand lost a number of key players like former captain Stephen Fleming, Chris Harris, Nathan Astle and players like Shane Bond who are banned from international cricket due to their contracts with rebel Indian Cricket League (ICL). So, New Zealand has also lost their strength in the last few years. Even New Zealand’s performance in 2008 was not impressive at all, though they showed some excellent performances in Australia in their recent ODI series. However, as they are playing at home, New Zealand must enjoy the home advantage, specially against a sub-continental team like India who have never been comfortable in the seaming condition like that of New Zealand.

Online Live Score and Updates

Here, I am giving some websites from where you can get the live score and updates of the match:

Cricinfo

Sify sports

action8cricket

cricketnext

Headlinesindia.com

CRICBUZZ

123INDIA.COM

Cricket365

thatscricket

I just expect that cricket fans would be bale to see a close match, no matter who wins. The first Twenty20 was not as exciting as it was expected, considering New Zealand’s home advantage and India’s recent form. I hope that the second match would not like the first one and would be full of excitement. I am not going to pick up a favorite because it is a Twenty20 match where even a single over can change the whole match and uncertainty exists in every layer of this shortest version of the game. What I am looking for is nothing but pure excitement and good cricket from both sides.

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