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IND vs NZ 2023, Lucknow T20I: Time for Ishan, Hooda to fire as captain Pandya faces must-win situation

India will have to raise their game a few notches as the Hardik Pandya-led side faces a must-win situation to level the three-match T20I series against New Zealand in Lucknow on Sunday.

IND vs NZ 2023, Lucknow T20I: Time for Ishan, Hooda to fire as captain Pandya faces must-win situation snt
First Published Jan 29, 2023, 8:00 AM IST

As the Hardik Pandya-led team enters a must-win scenario to tie the three-match T20I series against New Zealand on Sunday in Lucknow, they will need to step up their game.

India lost the opening match by 21 runs on Friday after getting caught in a spin web on the Ranchi pitch. The defeat also brought to light India's careless bowling, particularly that of the pace duo of Arshdeep Singh and Umran Malik.

Malik, a tearaway speed, gave up 16 runs in one over, while Arshdeep, who was bowling the last over, gave up 27, putting pressure on the Indian hitters who were chasing.

The youthful left-arm quick's pricey over proved to be the turning point as he was destroyed for three sixes and a boundary. India's batsmen got off to a bad start, scoring just 15 runs in the top three positions.

According to Washington Sundar after the game, the hosts reached 155/9, which would have been a par score to defend on the surface.

"150 would've been par and we would've been very happy with it," the India all-rounder said. 

Skipper Pandya, however, is unlikely to bring in uncapped pace bowler Mukesh Kumar for the second T20I and will probably back Arshdeep to bounce back. 

Also read: It was just one-off game, says Washington Sundar after India's loss to NZ in Ranchi T20I

Kishan, Hooda under scrutiny

While Shubman Gill, who has been on fire in ODIs, has only participated in four T20Is and is still getting a handle on the complexities of the shortest format, the two essential hitters, Ishan Kishan and Deepak Hooda, will be the leading cause for concern.

Kishan, who is batting first, is not in the same threatening shape he was in when he smashed a record-breaking ODI double-century against Bangladesh in December.

Ishan has since scored 37, 2, 1, 5, 8 no., 17, and 4 in his past seven innings in ODIs and T20Is.

In terms of Twenty20 Internationals, he has yet to score a fifty since June 14, 2022, when he defeated South Africa.

As a lower middle-order batsman, Hooda has not had much luck. In his last 13 innings, he's averaged just 17.88, with his best score coming in an unbeaten 41 against Sri Lanka at the Wankhede.

On Friday, he scored just 10 runs off of 10 balls when batting at No. 7, and the rotation of strikes was again questioned, particularly when the New Zealand spinners were bowling.

While it is unlikely that India will use Jitesh Sharma, a debutant, as a middle-order wicketkeeper-batter on Sunday, Hooda and Kishan's time is running short.

Despite the defeat on Friday, Washington Sundar was a big asset for India. He not only delivered two wickets in four precise overs of spin, but he also ended up being the team's top scorer with a 28-ball 50 while batting at No. 6.

Given that the Ekana Stadium in this location has large boundaries, India would need someone at the top of the order to step up their game and perform some big hitting, even with No. 1 T20I batter Suryakumar Yadav in excellent form.

On the other hand, the Kiwis will aim for a further triumph to clinch a remarkable series victory in India. They will once more rely largely on Devon Conway and Daryl Mitchell, their in-form tandem.

Also read: Dhoni fans upset after New Zealand outplay India by 21 runs in first T20I in Ranchi

Teams (from) India: Hardik Pandya (c), Suryakumar Yadav (vc), Ishan Kishan (wk), Shubman Gill, Prithvi Shaw, Deepak Hooda, Rahul Tripathi, Jitesh Sharma (wk), Washington Sundar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Arshdeep Singh, Umran Malik, Shivam Mavi and Mukesh Kumar. 

New Zealand: Mitchell Santner (c), Finn Allen, Devon Conway (wk), Glenn Phillips, Dane Cleaver (wk), Mark Chapman, Michael Bracewell, Daryl Mitchell, Michael Rippon, Lockie Ferguson, Ish Sodhi, Blair Tickner, Jacob Duffy, Henry Shipley and Ben Lister.

Match starts: 7 pm.

(With inputs from PTI)

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