India will take on New Zealand in the second of the five T20Is at the Eden Park in Auckland on Sunday.
What did you say about team India being jet-lagged again? My goodness, what was that? If THIS is what they are capable of producing when they’re jet-lagged, then I swear I’d be okay with them being jet-lagged prior to every single game. Of course, their bowling was shaky but WOW, weren’t they brutal with the bat. The wondrous thing is that this is a five-match series, and hence we have four more matches of exhilarating entertainment coming our way. What does that mean? Four more matches of making LOTS and LOTS of money. The first T20I got me so buzzed that I already have my three bets for the 2nd T20I ready, so let’s dive right into them, shall we?
Now yeah, we all know that New Zealand have a superior H2H record in T20s against India blah blah blah. But the crux of the matter is that this, by far, is the strongest Indian side to have ever stepped foot onto Kiwi soil and vice versa, arguably the weakest New Zealand side to have faced India. These are two sides on two extremes of the spectrum in terms of confidence, and we saw that in the first match, didn’t we? India were able to chase 204 at will, despite Rohit failing and Rahul/Kohli just partially firing. But let’s talk about the venue. Aside from the fact that the Kiwis have lost their last two T20s to India in Auckland, they’ve a shocking record here at Eden Park, having won just THREE of their last TEN games at the venue. In fact, since the start of 2016, NZ have lost FIVE of their SIX T20Is played in Eden Park. And in case you didn’t know, the first match of this series - where India battered the Kiwis - was also played at Eden Park. Let me also remind you that India are unbeaten in their last five T20I series, whilst the Kiwis are coming fresh off a series defeat against England at home. You think India would let this opportunity slip? Nah. Save your time and bet on Kohli’s men to decimate the Kiwis yet again.
There is one thing that the Kiwi batsmen are very good at, which is knowing the dimensions of the grounds and exploiting it to the maximum extent possible. Thus, they unsurprisingly end up hitting more sixes than their opponents. This was also evident in the first match of the series. Williamson’s men hit a total of 10 sixes, with the skipper himself, surprisingly, hitting the most maximums of any batsman in the match. In the last 4 H2H clashes between these two sides in New Zealand, the Blackcaps have hit 40 sixes in total compared to India’s 36, and have also outscored India in 2 of those games, with both sides hitting 10 sixes each in the previous encounter. In their last 6 T20 encounters - all at home - only twice have the Kiwis’ opponents hit more sixes than them. India, on the other hand, the Lanka T20s aside, have shown a tendency to struggle against the big hitters, with them conceding more sixes in two of the three games they played versus the Windies. With Munro, Guptill and hell, even Williamson and Taylor finding form in the first match, it almost goes unsaid that the hosts will end up out-muscling the Indians in the 2nd T20 on Sunday.
Alright, so there can be ambiguity in a lot of bets, you might be confused on whether it’s worth taking a punt on them or not, but one bet that is as obvious as it can get is this one. In case you did not catch a glimpse of the first T20I, let me tell you that the pitch was flatter than the roads that I cross everyday to get to the office. The runs at the fall of the first wicket in the first game? 80. Yeah, that’s right. And in the last TWELVE occasions that these two sides have played T20 cricket, only TWICE has either side failed to put up at least 23 runs for the first wicket. New Zealand, in their last 6 T20Is, have averaged 47.6 for the first wicket, while India have averaged 62.16. Yep, that’s right. The last time these two sides met at Eden Park (last year, before the 1st T20I), India put on 79 runs for the first wicket. From the outset, it just looks to me like the pitches are tailor-made for high scores and I just cannot fathom a scenario where the first wicket falls before 23. It would be more difficult to NOT score 23 than score 23 on these wickets. Close your eyes and place your money on this bet, I say.