NZ v India 1st T20I Preview: Kohli & Co gear up to avenge WC semis loss against Black Caps
The format may be different, the venue may be different, some of the players in both teams may also be different, but knowing Indian skipper Virat Kohli, there will be an air of revenge throughout this tour.
Venue - Eden Park, Auckland
Start time - 06:50 AM GMT | 07:50 PM LOCAL | 12:20 PM IST
Head to Head record in T20Is - New Zealand: 8 India: 3 Tied: 0 No Result: 0
Weather - Partly Cloudy, 25°C, Precipitation: 10%, Humidity: 73%, Wind: 24 km/h
It was New Zealand who cut short India's run in the ODI World Cup, beating them in the semifinals. It's a totally different thing that the Kiwis will hold the same grudge against England, and more so, against the boundary countback rule.
Virat Kohli is not one to easily forget the past defeats and hence it would be the goal of redemption that will drive him and the team throughout this tour.
The tiny Eden Park
Eden Park is a rather funny ground. In fact, it is one of the funniest grounds in world cricket. It's straight boundaries are as small as 55 meters, which gives the batsmen an edge. Even top edges fly over the boundary.
Hence, the teams will think twice before playing a conventional finger spinner at this venue. The batsmen would hope to get set and then pile on the runs, with a pretty decent batting square on offer as well.
Last time around
The last time India and New Zealand competed in the T20 format, it was in early 2019 when the Kiwis beat India 2-1.
Wicketkeeper Tim Seifert was the top run-scorer in that series with 139 runs from 3 innings at an average of 46.33 and will be expected to be among the top scorers again. Mitchell Santner and Daryl Mitchell had picked up the most wickets for New Zealand.
For India, Rohit Sharma was their top batsman and not much is expected to change this time around. Krunal Pandya and Khaleel Ahmed were their top bowlers. Interestingly, both of them do not find a place in the squad this time around.
New Zealand's team composition
Colin Munro was also good in the last T20 series between the two teams but he may or may not get an opportunity to open alongside Martin Guptill this time. Tim Seifert is expected to open the batting, with Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor following at Number 3 and 4.
Colin de Grandhomme is a certainty at number 5. The only choice for New Zealand would be to either play the all-rounder Daryl Mitchell or fit in Colin Munro at the top and push the others one position each in the batting order.
Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi, the two Kiwi spinners, have a good record against India and both are expected to be part of the playing XI. Hamish Bennett, Blair Tickner and Tim Southee are likely to be the three New Zealand quicks, in the absence of Trent Boult and Lockie Ferguson.
India's team composition
Much luck is not going Shikhar Dhawan's way as after a broken thumb and a leg injury, when he finally seemed to be returning to form, a shoulder injury will now keep him away from the entire New Zealand tour. This leaves KL Rahul to open the batting along with Rohit Sharma.
However, given that Rahul has been entrusted with the responsibility of wicketkeeping as well, it would be interesting to see whether he continues to do the job while opening the batting as it would take a lot of toll on his body.
Shreyas Iyer and Manish Pandey are likely to bat in the middle order while the race will be between Shivam Dube and Rishabh Pant for the number 6 spot. Eden Park being a small ground it would not be a very wise decision to go in with just five bowlers and hence Dube seems to be winning the race at the moment.
Washington Sundar will be their finger spinner. Kuldeep Yadav is expected to play ahead of Yuzvendra Chahal. Mohammed Shami, Navdeep Saini and Jasprit Bumrah would be the three pace bowling options for India.
A look at the expected playing XI of both teams:
New Zealand - Martin Guptill, Tim Seifert, Kane Williamson (c), Ross Taylor, Colin de Grandhomme, Daryl Mitchell, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Hamish Bennett, Blair Tickner, Tim Southee
India - Rohit Sharma (vc), KL Rahul (wk), Virat Kohli (c), Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant/Shivam Dube, Washington Sundar, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Navdeep Saini, Jasprit Bumrah
This is where you can catch all the live action across the globe:
India & Subcontinent: Star Sports, DD National (DD1), DD Sports, Hotstar
New Zealand: SKY Sport NZ
UK: Sky Sports Cricket
Australia: Fox Sports
South Africa: SuperSport
Canada: ATN Cricket Plus (Asian Television Network), CBN
USA: Willow TV, Hotstar
Malaysia: Astro Cricket HD
Middle East and North Africa (MENA): OSN Sports Cricket HD
Bangladesh: Gazi TV (GTV)
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