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Pack your side with batsmen at high-scoring Eden Park

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New Zealand v India, 2nd T20I, Auckland

Our XI: KL Rahul (wk), Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Colin Munro, Shreyas Iyer, Martin Guptill, Ross Taylor, Kane Williamson, Mitchell Santner, Ravindra Jadeja*, Yuzvendra Chahal

NOTE: We might not always be able to tip you off about a late injury (or other relevant) updates.

Captain: KL Rahul

Rahul has been in red-hot form in limited-overs cricket for a while now, and it continued in the first T20I as he raced to a 27-ball 56. No reason to look anywhere else yet, irrespective of whether India bat first or second.

Vice-captain: Virat Kohli

Kohli was also among the runs in his first-ever T20I on the New Zealand soil, although it was a rare chase when he didn’t see the side home. Kohli still averages 52.57 in T20Is, and if India chase once again, you could consider slotting him in as captain too.

Hot picks

Kane Williamson

Williamson found his hitting range, moved up a few gears and made full use of the angles and short boundaries at Eden Park during his 26-ball 51 in the first game. It was only his second fifty at the ground from ten innings, but he looks in solid hitting form on his return to the national side.

Yuzvendra Chahal

Outside of Jasprit Bumrah, Chahal (along with Shivam Dube) had the best economy rate among all the bowlers who bowled in the first T20I. As much as the run-saving, he brings proven wicket-taking ability to your side, and is always a chance at a ground where batsmen are going hell for leather from the get-go. The only specialist bowler in our line-up.

Colin Munro

Munro relishes playing in New Zealand, where his numbers are world-class: an average of 35.30 and a strike rate of 172.75. True to form, he smashed a brisk fifty at the top of the order. Another potential vice-captain option, especially if New Zealand bat first. Munro is also tagged as an “allrounder” on fantasy platforms thanks to his part-time bowling abilities, so he could help fill another hole too.

Value picks

Ross Taylor

Taylor hasn’t exactly been a T20I run-scoring beast, partly due to where he bats in the order, and made his first T20I half-century in six years on Friday. Not surprisingly, he comes on the cheap on fantasy platforms. Taylor is a vital cog in New Zealand’s middle order along with Williamson, and with short legside boundaries, you can always back him to smoke a few into the upper tiers.

Shreyas Iyer

The star of India’s win in the first T20I, Iyer defied a mini-slump in form that saw him get out early through the latter half of India’s home season. His timely big hits ensured India chased down 204 with a full over to spare. Form is everything in T20 cricket, and at the same ground where he won his first Player-of-the-Match award for India two days ago, you should continue to back him.

Points to note

  • India are likely to sweat over Jasprit Bumrah’s fitness after he injured his ankle during his final over in the first T20I. Watch out for team news and pick him in your XI (we would replace Ravindra Jadeja with him) if he is selected in the playing XI.

  • Eden Park has produced high-scoring duels in T20Is over the years, and Monday was no different. Therefore, our XI includes as many as ten men who can bat (nine if Bumrah comes in). If you decide to go with an additional New Zealand player, we’d recommend Ish Sodhi.



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‘Still want to prove myself in Tests’ – Moeen Ali

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Moeen Ali has restated his desire to return to Test cricket in the future, saying he has “huge ambitions” to prove himself in the format. Moeen did not make himself available for next month’s tour of Sri Lanka but said he was keen to be involved in next winter’s five-Test World Test Championship trip to India.

Moeen’s last Test appearance was in August, for the opening encounter of the 2019 Ashes. He subsequently took time away from the game to deal with burnout, making his England return in the third ODI against South Africa last week.

He was named Player of the Match in Durban on Friday as England levelled the T20I series, and spoke afterwards about his plans for a Test return.

“I do want to be part of that [tour to India] for sure,” Moeen told the BBC. “I still have huge ambitions for Test cricket.

“It is still the best form of the game and the hardest. I want prove to myself and to other people that I am not a bad Test player.”

England play two Tests in Sri Lanka in March, before taking on West Indies and Pakistan during their home summer.

Moeen, who lost his central contract in October but could have been obliged by the ECB to make himself available for Sri Lanka as part of his white-ball deal, will next head to the Pakistan Super League, where he has been signed by Multan Sultans.

“I am going to give myself a bit more time,” he said of his break from Test cricket. “I want to make sure when I come back I am ready and fresh.

“I want to keep enjoying my cricket and get that hunger back because I feel I lost that completely. I had no interest in my batting and bowling and when you are in that situation there is no point playing.

“I definitely feel like I am getting there and not far [away]. I want to give myself extra time and know when I come back I will have to fight for my place.”

Moeen played once during the ODI series against South Africa, taking 1 for 41 and then hitting the winning runs in Johannesburg. He showed signs of getting back to his free-scoring best in the second T20I, cracking a whirlwind 39 off 11 balls to fire England to a score they narrowly managed to defend in a dramatic final-over finish.

“It was amazing to contribute and finally feel like I am back for England,” he said. “I will not take it for granted.”



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Recent Match Report – New South Wales vs Victoria, Sheffield Shield, 19th Match

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New South Wales 4 for 201 (Patterson 54) trail 7 for 431 (Gotch 100*, Maddinson 95, Dean 71) by 230 runs

Wil Parker, the 17-year-old debutant legspinner, claimed two big scalps to keep Victoria on top against New South Wales at the SCG after Seb Gotch had scored his maiden first-class century.

Victoria declared on 7 fo 431 shortly before lunch moments after Gotch had brought up three figures. The New South Wales openers departed after a half-century opening stand but Kurtis Patterson, playing his first Shield match since October, and Moises Henriques both looked in fine form as they added 102 deep into the final.

Then Parker, who had bowled nicely in his first spell, returned to manufacture back-to-back breakthroughs. His maiden first-class wicket came when he slid a delivery across Patterson as he came down the pitch, the ball grazing the edge before Gotch completed the stumping. In his next over he then benefited from some significant fortune when Henriques bottom-edged a pull into his leg which ballooned to slip.

Daniel Solway and captain Peter Nevill saw out the rest of the day but New South Wales have a lengthy tail so there was considerable work to do.

Gotch and Travis Dean had resumed with Victoria well placed on 5 for 318 and carried their stand to 150 in 50 overs with Dean making his highest first-class score in 21 innings after retiring hurt yesterday following the blow in the box from Trent Copeland.

Dean eventually fell when he top-edged a sweep off Steve O’Keefe while Gotch continued to carefully accumulate towards his hundred having twice fallen shortly previously in his career. The century arrived from 241 balls with a single off Liam Hatcher.

Armed with a new Duke ball, Victoria’s seamers found early movement – Gotch had a difficult time behind the stumps – but it took a while to break through as Daniel Hughes and Nick Larkin settled in. Scott Boland claimed the first breakthrough when he trapped Larkin lbw then Will Sutherland, who began with four consecutive maidens either side of a brief rain delay, produced an excellent delivery to beat Hughes’ inside edge.

Patterson, recovered from the quad strain which has disrupted his season, was soon into his stride has he played elegantly off front and back foot while Henriques continued the form he showed before the Big Bash. However, just when they were taking the competition leaders into a position of parity, Parker popped up to produce a moment he’ll remember.



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Duck, duck, duck as Tasmania batting woes continue | Cricket

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Usman Khawaja tucks the ball away © Associated Press


Tasmania 78 and 4 for 72 trail Queensland 257 (Khawaja 56, Bird 4-68) by 107 runs

Tasmania’s horror match with the bat continued at the Gabba as they lost three second-innings wickets without a run on the board to leave them facing an innings defeat against Queensland.

A battling half-century from Usman Khawaja and handy lower-order contributions had taken Queensland to a lead of 179 after they had dismantled Tasmania for 78 on the opening day.

In reply, Alex Doolan, Jordan Silk (who bagged a pair) and Jake Doran all fell for ducks against Michael Neser and Jack Wildermuth.

They regained some composure as Charlie Wakim and Ben McDermott added 72 but Wakim was pinned lbw by Mitchell Swepson late in the day.

Queensland were already in the lead overnight but Tasmania mounted something of a fightback as they chipped away. Bryce Street’s 171-ball stay ended when he edged Jackson Bird and Sam Heazlett was given caught down the leg side.

Khawaja held the innings together with his second Shield half-century of the season before the hard work ended when a booming drive was edged to second slip. Cameron Gannon and Mark Steketee chipped in with 20s from Nos. 9 and 10. The innings was wrapped up by the offspin of Beau Webster who, in a game dominated by the seamers, finished with 3 for 44.

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