New Zealand vs India 1st T20I Preview: Expect plenty of fireworks as both teams look to embrace high-risk approach
For once, a win or loss won't matter that much. What will matter is the style of cricket both teams adopt and how they express themselves out in the middle.
It is strange that only days after India were knocked out of the 2021 T20 World Cup in the UAE, they found themselves competing against New Zealand in a bilateral T20 series. Even then, the spirits were low and the feeling of hollowness was shared by the players and the spectators alike.
New Zealand, too, were feeling disappointed after being routed by Australia in the final.
This time around as well, both teams have been knocked out in the semis after playing some good cricket in the group stage and no matter what they say, both must be carrying a lot of baggage from that defeat.
While the chat in the media would be for both teams to reset and set their eyes on the next T20 World Cup, which is still two years away, it would be advisable for the boys to just enjoy themselves which is when most of them produce their best cricket.
The captains from both sides, Rohit Sharma and Kane Williamson, faced some heat after they were not able to take their respective teams to the final, more so for their poor personal form.
While the likes of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and KL Rahul have been rested, New Zealand have fronted up with their best available XI.
Trent Boult will now be seen less and less in international cricket with him having not accepted the central contract. Veteran opener Martin Guptill might have already played his last international match with Finn Allen on the rise.
The vacant spots bring an opportunity for both sides to try out a few youngsters who will certainly help them down the track for the next T20 World Cup, but this experience of playing a quality side will also prove fruitful for the upcoming 2023 ODI World Cup in India.
India will dish out a different looking playing XI with a lot of their big guns missing. However, the fact is that we are going to see this fresh bunch of guys representing the country in the shortest format more and more as the formula of trying out the same players in all the formats has not been working for India over the past few years in white-ball cricket.
Hardik Pandya has been named the skipper and is likely to take over the reins from Rohit Sharma on a permanent basis sooner rather than later, at least in T20 cricket.
Deepak Chahar, who is back to full fitness, is expected to play ahead of Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Umran Malik is likely to feature as well in a line up that desperately needs more pace in their attack.
Arshdeep Singh is also expected to feature ahead of Harshal Patel. Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzi Chahal are likely to be reunited in the spin department.
New Zealand will have more or less the same side which took the field in the World Cup with Finn Allen opening the batting alongside Devon Conway, who will be their wicket-keeper as well.
After a tense World Cup where so much rode on every delivery, a win or loss won't matter that much. What will matter is the style of cricket that both teams choose to play and how they express themselves out in the middle.
Predicted Playing XIs
India: Deepak Hooda, Ishan Kishan, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya (captain), Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Harshal Patel/Umran Malik, Deepak Chahar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Arshdeep Singh
New Zealand: Finn Allen, Devon Conway (wicket-keeper), Kane Williamson (captain), Glenn Phillips, Daryl Mitchell, Jimmy Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Lockie Ferguson, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Adam Milne
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