India will be confident after the manner in which they recovered to win the second Test in Bangalore. With the top four batsmen back in the pavilion early, Mahendra Singh Dhoni combined with the first innings centurion, Virat Kohli, to take India to a win and wrap up the series 2-0.
What was most impressive was the manner in which both attacking batsmen tailored their game to the need of the hour and once victory was in sight, let loose with a volley of shots as if to fire a warning blow to the New Zealanders as to what to expect in the two T20 matches to follow.
The BCCI has done the right thing in having the T20 matches instead of the 50 overs games, since the ICC T20 World Cup is a few days away and the two match series will give an idea of areas that India need to look at. Sure, the Indian team will play a few warm up games in Colombo in the ultra short format, but when players know that the result matters, the approach and attitude is totally different.
So these two games will be where the teams will try and get the psychological advantage over each other for the ICC World Cup that follows. Both teams have some explosive players in their ranks, who can take the game away in a matter of deliveries.
It is the fielding that will make a difference. New Zealand have been superb in that department in the Test matches especially the ground fielding and that will add to the pressure felt by the batting team. When shots are stopped inches from the boundary and catches taken when batsmen think they have hit a great shot, the morale of the teams go up and down depending on which team is batting and fielding.
India’s young brigade also are pretty good in the field, but not as good as the Kiwis. India’s skipper famously said in Australia that there are some slow movers in the team and that is a fact. They can get away with it to some extent in Test cricket, but there is no hiding place for poor fielders in limited overs cricket especially the T20 format.
All eyes though will be on Yuvraj Singh and dare I say that, even some, if not all the Kiwi players would want him to do well too. His is a truly inspirational story and is way beyond just bat and ball. He looks just a bit heavy at the moment, but that could well be because of the medications that he has had to take.
What will be interesting is to see how his reflexes and speed between the wickets is. To expect him to get cracking from the first game is maybe too much, but if it does happen then it will be a fairy tale indeed.
The result is of course important for it is a morale thing for the big tournament that follows. The Vizag pitch has generally been good for batting so there should be plenty of thrills too.