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India vs New Zealand 2020: Fierce Kiwi challenge awaits transitional visitors in 1st T20

  • New Zealand haven't been consistent across formats in recent times and Virat Kohli's men definitely start as favorites.
Aryan Surana
Modified 21 Jan 2020, 17:14 IST

India will lock horns with the mercurial New Zealand at the Eden Park on Friday.
India will lock horns with the mercurial New Zealand at the Eden Park on Friday.

While teams often lose optimism after a massive defeat, great sides exhibit resilience and promptly bounce back to reassert their dominance. Australia outplayed India in the series opener at Mumbai before the hosts fought back, registering consecutive victories to ultimately reign supreme. Besides probing India's character, the fiercely-contested three-match series demonstrated KL Rahul's versatility and significance in limited-overs cricket, elucidating their middle-order quandary.

What was also evident was that India's death bowling has improved substantially. Earlier, the responsibility lay predominantly on the shoulders of Jasprit Bumrah, but Mohammed Shami, Navdeep Saini, and Shardul Thakur have grown in confidence and are flummoxing pinch-hitters by employing yorkers and slower deliveries. India's pace merchants can also work around defensive lengths and thereby induce errors when operating against swashbucklers yearning quick runs.

New Zealand's power-packed batting lineup oozes flamboyance. Colin Munro and Martin Guptill form an explosive opening combination, worthy of demolishing the mightiest of attacks. Tom Siefert and Daryl Mitchell have already impressed with blazing cameos in whatever limited opportunities they've received. However, injury concerns plague the Kiwis as experienced campaigners Trent Boult, Matt Henry, and Lockie Ferguson miss out, paving way for rookie quicks Hamish Bennett and Scott Kuggeleijn to showcase their abilities. Furthermore, leg-spinner Ish Sodhi would be under pressure to deliver the goods after his abysmal performances against England recently.

Also see - India New Zealand schedule

Cynics might argue that New Zealand have lately blown hot and cold across formats and Virat Kohli's men definitely start as favorites. But neglecting the hosts' potency would be foolhardy. Can the Black Caps thwart India's rampaging juggernaut?

Match Details: India vs New Zealand, 1st T20I

Venue: Eden Park, Auckland

Date and Time: Friday, 24 January, 12:20 PM IST


Team News

India: Shikhar Dhawan's injury persists and if he's deemed unfit for the opening joust, Rahul alongside Rohit Sharma could open the innings. Consequently, Manish Pandey, Shivam Dubey, and fit-again Rishabh Pant become likely contenders for the finisher's role. Shardul Thakur has illustrated his all-round potential, but will face stiff competition from Navdeep Saini.

Probable XI: Rohit Sharma (vc), KL Rahul (wk), Virat Kohli (c), Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey/ Shivam Dubey/ Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, Washington Sundar, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Navdeep Saini/Shardul Thakur.

New Zealand: Batting frontiers look robust with veterans Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor providing the much-needed stability. One of Daryl Mitchell, Blair Tickner, or Hamish Bennett will feature as the third seaming option to accompany Tim Southee and Scott Kuggeleijn.

Probable XI: Colin Munro, Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson (c), Colin de Grandhomme, Tim Seifert (wk), Ross Taylor, Daryl Mitchell/ Hamish Bennett/ Blair Tickner, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Scott Kuggeleijn, Ish Sodhi.

What they said:

“We are taking a lot of confidence from our performance (in NZ) last year. We were very positive in how we played, very sure of what we wanted to do. The thing about playing away is if you’re able to put the home team under pressure, you can enjoy your cricket. That’s what we did last year, squeezed them in the middle overs, picked up wickets, spinners were outstanding. Looking forward to take that same intensity into the series.” Kohli highlighted in the post-match press conference.

What to expect: Pacers relish the conditions as the sporting track provides them considerable assistance. The drop-in wicket has a tendency to slow down as the game progresses, hence the spinners would come into the forefront. Oddly shaped grounds and spontaneous breeze makes fielding challenging. Passing showers could spoil the fun.

Also read: 3 players who could replace Shikhar Dhawan

Published 21 Jan 2020, 12:46 IST
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