Rain once again struck just when a good game of cricket was shaping up at Wellington. The Indians continued their ominous form with the bat before the umpires decided to give up on the stop-start game that the weather gods were playing with them.
The little amount of play that was
possible should have given the Black Caps plenty to worry about. Virender Sehwag continued with his savage hitting from the first game before an ordinary decision stopped him in his tracks. Sachin Tendulkar too looked in great touch, and this would be a major boost for the Indians. Yuvraj Singh has not scored a run yet and Gautam Gambhir is still to make a major contribution, but the Indians still have scored well over a run-a-ball in both their batting efforts.
For the hosts, containing the marauding Indian batsmen should now be priority number one. I had said that the New Zealand team also possesses a lot of ammo in its batting, but if they are constantly made to chase or post huge targets, it will put an incredible amount of pressure on them. Therefore, it's important for Daniel Vettori to sit with his pace bowlers and devise a plan for Sehwag who is really the man who gives the rest of the batsmen the momentum to carry on. He is the prize wicket and if the Indians lose a wicket early, it might reduce the pressure on the bowlers. The New Zealand captain has admitted that his bowlers fear Sehwag once he gets going. I am sure many bowlers around the world share this sentiment.
It's interesting to remember that when India were having the horrors during their last visit to New Zealand in 2003, Sehwag did pretty well for himself and scored a couple of big scores in the one-dayers.
Sunday's game is in Christchurch and I can see the gleam in Sehwag's eye as he eyes those short square boundaries. I hope rain does not shorten this game because that will put an incredible amount of pressure on the bowlers. This was the venue on which 24 sixes were hit a fortnight ago, and that would give readers an idea of what to expect on Sunday.
Ishant Sharma has not yet fully recovered and Brendon McCullum is also not in the reckoning. McCullum was looking in real good touch during the T20 games and his absence is going to hurt New Zealand's batting. (Gameplan)