After thrashing the Kiwis 4-1 to register their biggest ever series win on New Zealand soil, the Men in Blue would look to resume their ongoing rivalry against the Black Caps in the T20 format. This series is going to be a battle between the World No. 2 ranked side in the format, India, and the World No. 6 team New Zealand.
India have rested some of their key players for the series, trying to give them a much-needed break as the IPL and Cricket World Cup is approaching. They will be without their regular captain, Virat Kohli, and bowlers Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami. Thus, Shubman Gill, Rishabh Pant and Khaleel Ahmed are expected to start the game for India.
New Zealand too are without some of their regulars. Martin Guptill is nursing back injury and has been replaced by Jimmy Neesham in the squad. Further, middle-order batsman Henry Nicholls has been dropped along with Seth Rance and Glenn Philips, while all-rounder Doug Bracewell has retained his place for the T20I squad. Trent Boult has also been rested for the series.
We expect a tough battle amongst these two cricketing giants, considering the success both the teams have had in the shortest format of the game in the recent past.
Presence of T20 specialists – The Kiwi squad boasts of specialist T20 players who are well adept in all-round skills. They further have hard-hitting batsmen in the squad who can change the dynamics of the game in minutes. The squad boasts the likes of Kane Williamson, Colin Munro, Jimmy Neesham, Colin de Grandhomme, Ish Sodhi, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee who all are widely respected in the T20 circuit around the globe.
Bowlers back to their usual best – One of the main reasons why New Zealand were easily decimated by the visitors in the first three ODI’s was due to the fact that their bowlers weren’t able to pick wickets and thus apply pressure on the Indian scoreboard. However, in the last two ODI’s, the Kiwi bowlers did what they were expected to do and thus, built pressure on the Indian batsmen which derailed the Indian batting order and put them on immense pressure. The same is now expected of the Southee led bowling attack in the T20 series as well.
Openers not amongst runs – New Zealand had tried three different pairings in the ODI series but none of them worked out. With Martin Guptill being ruled out from the T20 series due to injury, and Henry Nicholls being dropped from the T20 squad, we are almost certain to see another new opening pairing of the Kiwis. It is widely expected that Kane Williamson will open alongside Colin Munro, and both will be expected to lay a solid foundation for the rest of the batsmen to follow the suit.
Intimidating Bowling Attack – India possesses a fiery pace-attack along with world-class spinners. Even though Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami have been rested for the ODI series, yet India possesses Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal at their disposal. These bowlers are more than able to lead their team to victory single-handedly.
Presence of finishers in the squad – The present Indian batting-order possesses a number of match-winners and finishers in their batting line-up. If the situation arises, all of MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya, and Krunal Pandya can step up and finish the job for Team India. All of them have already done the same in IPL for their respective franchises, and the same will be expected of them for Team India as well.
Inexperienced middle-order – As Virat Kohli was rested for the T20 series, and KL Rahul was axed after the Koffee with Karan saga, the Indian middle-order looks depleted. Other than MS Dhoni and Hardik Pandya, all off Shubman Gill, Rishabh Pant and Krunal Pandya are highly inexperienced in the International stage, and thus the Kiwi bowling attack would look to get past them quickly to try and get an upper-hand in the game.
Looking at the way the Indians are playing currently, Team CricWizz predicts the first T20I to be an easy ride for the Men in Blue. Even though the Indians are without a number of their regular players, yet they are a more balanced side than the Kiwis who after their humiliating ODI series loss are searching for the right combinations to come back to winning ways.
Also Read, Match Report|NZ vs Ind|5th ODI