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India vs Afghanistan, 2nd T20I Preview: A fiery battle brews in Indore for series glory

The spotlight shifts to the Holkar Cricket Stadium in Indore for the second T20I between India and Afghanistan on Sunday, January 14th, with the Men in Blue holding a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. While India might be the favorites, Afghanistan’s fighting spirit and the promise of a batsman-friendly pitch offer the potential for a thrilling encounter.

Kohli’s return ignites anticipation: The biggest buzz surrounds Virat Kohli’s return to the Indian lineup after missing the first match due to personal reasons. The veteran batsman’s form has been under scrutiny for a while, but his presence bolsters India’s middle order and adds a shot of experience to the team. Expect the crowd to erupt when he walks out to bat.

Batting bonanza on the cards: Indore’s track is notorious for its flat surface and short boundaries, making it a haven for big hitters. Rohit Sharma, Jitesh Verma, and the resurgent Shivam Dube will look to capitalize on the scoring opportunities and build a commanding total. For Afghanistan, Rahmanullah Gurbaz’s explosive opening knocks and Azmatullah Omarzai’s all-round brilliance hold the key to posting a competitive score.

Spin a factor under the midday sun: While the pitch favors batsmen, the spin bowlers could come into play later in the innings as the temperature rises. Axar Patel’s crafty left-arm deliveries and Sundar’s Chinaman wizardry will be India’s trump cards against the Afghan middle order. Afghanistan’s Mohammad Nabi and Qais Ahmad will need to use their experience and variations to contain the Indian batsmen.

Afghanistan’s fight for redemption: Despite the loss in Mohali, Afghanistan showed glimpses of their potential. Gurbaz’s fiery start and Omarzai’s late flourish proved their batting depth. The bowlers, especially Naveen-ul-Haq and Rashid Khan (likely to return after missing the first match), need to find their rhythm early and make inroads into the Indian batting lineup.

Key battles to watch:

  • Kohli’s return against the Afghan spin attack
  • Rohit Sharma’s opening partnership with Shubman Gill 
  • Jitesh Sharma’s power-hitting in the middle overs
  • Gurbaz vs Arshdeep early battle

Though India enjoys home advantage and a stronger batting lineup, Afghanistan’s hunger and the nature of the pitch make it a close call. Expect a high-scoring affair with the momentum swinging both ways. But India’s batting firepower and experienced bowling attack might give them the edge in the end, potentially sealing the series win.

However, remember, T20 cricket is full of surprises. One big over, a sensational catch, or a fiery spell can change the course of the game. So buckle up, grab your snacks, and settle in for what promises to be a thrilling encounter under the Indore sun.

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