India vs New Zealand 2017, 1st T20I: Match preview, team line-ups, head-to-head, pitch and weather conditions
At 38 years and 186 days, Ashish Nehra will mark his run-up for one final time, on a ground where he has been playing first-class cricket for the last two decades. The story, however, will run parallel to Team India’s quest for their maiden T20I win against New Zealand, at the Feroz Shah Kotla, during the first T20I of the three-match series.
Against the No.1 ranked team in the world, the Indians won’t have it easy, especially in a format that they have blown hot and cold over the last 10 years. The fact that the Kiwis have come up trumps in all their previous encounters augurs well for a side that failed to latch on to the advantage of winning the first game of the ODI series, going on to lose the next two games.
The hosts have a couple of new faces for the shortest format: Shreyas Iyer and Mohammad Siraj, apart from their domestic exploits, have strung together some eye-catching performances in the IPL, and could feature in a game or two.
For New Zealand, the nucleus of the side stays the same, with strain building on the likes of Ross Taylor and Martin Guptill, who carry the pressure of retaining their names in the team sheet, having struggled with form recently.
Recent form (latest match denoted first):
New Zealand: L-W-W-W-L
Nehra is most likely to be given his final India cap tomorrow, resulting in the exclusion of either of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah, which might not go down too well with those who regard form over sentiment.
At the top, Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma are likely to pair up, with the option of promoting Virat Kohli if an extra batsman needs to be incorporated.
New Zealand might be tempted to try out Glenn Phillips, but the presence of Tom Latham, who has been more than competent in his new role as wicket-keeper-batsman, could result in more wait for the 20-year-old Phillips.
With Todd Astle sidelined for the T20Is as well, all-rounders Colin de Grandhomme and Colin Munro will have to step up, for the Kiwis have, in this format, always utilised the efficiency of players who can contribute with both bat and ball.
Pitch and weather
With winters approaching, conditions in Delhi won’t be harsh, but temperatures are expected to hover around the early 30s in the afternoon. There are absolutely no signs of rain, which means that the already sluggish surface will play slow and low over the course of the game, and the ball might not come on to the bat very easily.
Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli (C), Dinesh Karthik, Manish Pandey, MS Dhoni (WK), Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ashish Nehra, Yuzvendra Chahal
Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Tom Latham (wk), Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi