Stakes high as Rohit Sharma's India aim to keep T20 series alive against New Zealand

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The series is on the line for Rohit Sharma and India.

After being crushed comprehensively in the first T20 in Wellington, India will hope Auckland brings about a change in fortune when they take on hosts New Zealand in the second match of the series on Friday.

The hosts were unrelenting in the first T20 as they thoroughly outclassed the visitors by 80 runs and will be itching to clinch the series with another victory in Auckland.

As the two teams get ready for the high-stakes second T20, we take a look at what the key talking points are.

INDIA GRAPPLE WITH TEAM COMBINATION

India’s playing XI in the series opener was as unbalanced as they come with the visitors opting to go with three wicketkeepers and as many all-rounders in the clash. The result was their heaviest T20 defeat in terms of runs and stand-in skipper Rohit Sharma has plenty of tinkering to do if India are to turn the tide.

While the three wicketkeepers – MS Dhoni, Dinesh Karthik and Rishabh Pant – should keep their places for the second T20, the tourists will be tempted to drop at least one all-rounder from the trio of Hardik Pandya, Vijay Shankar and Krunal Pandya.

Bolstering of the batting department is needed and that could see young Shubman Gill make his way into the playing XI for Friday. Another change India could make is to bring in wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav after leaving him out of the series opener.

Changes are also expected in the fast-bowling department with Khaleel Ahmed proving expensive in Wellington.

India could bring in Shubman Gill to bolster the batting.

India could bring in Shubman Gill to bolster the batting.

KIWIS AIM TO KEEP T20 JUGGERNAUT GOING

They were comprehensively put in the shade by India in the ODI series but the Kiwis have looked like a completely different beast in the T20 series.

The 80-run win in Wellington means that New Zealand have now won seven out of their nine T20 clashes against the Indians. Kane Williamson and his men seem to have all their bases covered in the playing department and as such, they will be desperate to avenge their ODI humiliation with a series-clinching win on Friday.

The Kiwis will be wary of India’s comeback powers given how strongly they bounced back from their eight-wicket defeat in the fourth ODI and will need to ensure they do not take their foot off the pedal this time.

The only change Williamson will be tempted to make on Friday is to bring in James Neesham after leaving out the all-rounder for the series opener.

Kiwis will want to keep the winning momentum going.

The Kiwis will want to keep the winning momentum going.

ROHIT POISED FOR BIG INNINGS

The visitors will be hoping for a much bigger contribution from their stand-in skipper Rohit when they take the field.

The opening batsman was looking in excellent form in the ODI series with scores of 87 and 62 in the second and third games respectively, but he has since gone completely off the boil.

The right-hander has not even managed to gain any starts in the three matches since, aggregating a paltry total of just 10 runs. Rohit’s prowess in the limited-overs formats needs no introduction with the India man being one of the most in-form players over the past three years.

With a record four T20I tons to his name, the Kiwis will be wary of a Rohit resurgence in the remainder of the series. The 31-year-old always finds a way to bounce back into form and it remains to be seen if he can the do the same on Friday.

Rohit has been subdued in his last three innings.

Rohit has been subdued in his last three innings.

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