New Zealand vs India T20I series 2019: Preview, Teams, and match timings
After defeating New Zealand 4-1 in the five-match one-day series, the eyes of the Indian team are now on the three-match T-20 series starting on Wednesday, 5 February. The first match of the T20 Series will be played at the same ground where India won the fifth ODI and ended the winless streak of 16 years.
New Zealand were expected to play competitive cricket before the ODI series but, it was only in the fourth match that they put up a fight, while in all the remaining matches the Indian team was clinical in their performance. However, T20 is a different format, and New Zealand are dominating in this format of the game.
If we talk about head to head record, then India and New Zealand have played nine T20 matches so far since 2007, of which India has only won two, and both of these matches were played in India. On the other hand, New Zealand won six matches, while one match was called off.
There is a concern for India in terms of the record, as the Kiwis are ahead of them. New Zealand have played two T20 matches against India in their backyard and have won both of them. One of the matches was played here in Wellington in 2009. However, India's current team has destroyed all the sporting data in the past years. They won the first ever Test series in Australia recently and then won the bilateral one-day series as well. Now, they have won the ODI series after 10 years in New Zealand.
India's regular captain and star batsman Virat Kohli is not playing in this series as he has been rested. The captaincy of the team is in the hands of Rohit Sharma. Rohit is considered the best batsman after Kohli in the Indian team. In such a situation, the responsibility of the team is on him. Rohit has always performed well in T20Is, but his problem on foreign soil is well known, therefore, he has to pay attention to this.
Apart from Rohit, his opening partner Shikhar Dhawan has also done well in T20Is. In the absence of Kohli in the ODIs, young batsman Shubhaman Gill batted at the number three position but failed in both the matches.
It will be interesting to see whether India gives him the maiden T20I cap in the first match. Ambati Rayudu was a part of the team in ODIs but, he is not a part of the squad in this format. Young batsman Rishabh Pant can be added in his place in the XI. Whereas, Kedar Jadhav and Mahendra Singh Dhoni are sure to play.
Bowling will once again be dependent on Bhuvneshwar Kumar. He will have to be more alert as he has young fast bowlers in Siddharth Kaul and Khalil Ahmed with him in this format. Although, only one of them will get the chance to play in the XI along with Hardik Pandya.
Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav will also play a major role in the series. In addition to these two, Rohit has another spin bowling option in the form of Krunal Pandya. He is also capable of playing big shots with the bat, therefore, he is sure to play in the XI.
Talking about the Kiwis, they have got a big setback in the form of Martin Guptill getting injured, but they do have a dangerous batsman like Colin Munro in their ranks. Apart from captain Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor can also prove to be dangerous against any bowling attack in T20.
In the bowling, once again the responsibility will be on the experienced Tim Southee to contain the Indian batsmen. Mitchell Santner can also play a key role for the Kiwi team in this series.
Although the Kiwis have got a better head to head record but seeing the form Indian team is in, we can be sure of an entertaining series.
India: Rohit Sharma (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant, Shubman Gill, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wicketkeeper), Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Siddharth Kaul, Krunal Pandya, Khaleel Ahmed, Vijay Shankar, and Kedar Jadhav.
New Zealand: Kane Williamson (captain), Colin Munro, Tim Seifert (wicketkeeper), Ross Taylor, Colin de Grandhomme, Jimmy Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Doug Bracewell, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Lockie Ferguson, Scott Kuggeleijn, Daryl Mitchell.
First T20: 06/02/2019 at Westpac Stadium, Wellington (12:30 PM IST)
Second T20: 08/02/2019 at Eden Park, Auckland (11:30 AM IST)
Third T20: 10/02/2019 at Seddon Park, Hamilton (12:30 PM IST)
Note: Matches will be telecasted live on TV on Star Sports Network and will also be live streamed on Hotstar.