After bamboozling the Kiwis in the ODI series, the Men in Blue are set to feature against the same opponents in the three-match T20I series and the opening game will be played at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington on Wednesday, February 6.
Head to Head in New Zealand: In the island nation, the teams have gone head-to-head just twice in the shortest version, with the Kiwis claiming the honours on both occasions. While during their only meeting at the Westpac Stadium the home side emerged victorious by five wickets.
Previous Clash at Westpac Stadium: After being put in to bat first, thanks to Yuvraj Singh's 34 ball 50, the Men in Blue managed 149/6 in their quota of 20 overs.
In reply, the hosts were made to work for each run, but Brendon McCullum's steady 69 paved the way for them and they managed to pip the visitors on the final ball of the innings.
In New Zealand, the Indians are yet to register a win in the shortest format, but it won't be a matter of worry as they will be oozing with confidence after their impressive 4-1 triumph against the Kiwis in the recently concluded ODI series.
The opening pair of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma were India's key during the ODI series and will be expected to provide a good start in upcoming fixtures.
In the middle order, fans might witness the Pandya brothers sharing the field on this occasion and both of them along with Dinesh Karthik are capable of playing the big shots towards the back-end of the game.
While Rishabh Pant is expected to make a comeback in this fixture, he might share the middle order duties with MS Dhoni. All in all, this is a dream T20I line up to unleash at the opponents and make their bowlers sweat.
The bowling pair of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav were a nemesis for the hosts during the ODI series and the skipper will bank on these two to continue their good work and rattle the opponents in the middle overs.
While Bhuvneshwar Kumar is India's most experienced bowler, the team will need him to use his variations and attain a few scalps in the powerplay overs.
Expected Playing XI
Rohit Sharma (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant, MS Dhoni (wk), Dinesh Karthik, Krunal Pandya, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Siddarth Kaul, Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav
The Kiwis have a tough job on their hands in the T20I series after their dismal show in the ODIs. They would take confidence from their T20I record against the visitors and would aim to keep it intact.
In the absence of Martin Guptill, skipper Kane Williamson could be seen performing opening duties alongside Colin Munro, who is among the destructive openers of the T20 format. Though he struggled to get going in the ODIs, one may not underestimate his prowess and form in the shortest version.
Ross Taylor has looked in fine form during the ODI series. The batsman was their leading run-getter with 177 runs and him along with Williamson will hold the key for the Kiwis.
Along with these three, James Neesham and Scott Kuggeleijn are the other batsmen with the capability to hold the innings in case of early jolts.
In terms of bowling, Tim Southee and Ish Sodhi will be the ones to give their best on the day. Both are among the most successful bowlers from the current lot and will be expected to clinch crucial breakthroughs for the hosts.
Doug Bracewell and Lockie Ferguson have the talent and have done well for their side in the recent past. They would be eager to prove their worth on the day and keep things tight in the middle overs.
Expected Playing XI
Kane Williamson (c), Ross Taylor, Tim Seifert (wk), James Neesham, Colin Munro, Colin de Grandhomme, Doug Bracewell, Scott Kuggeleijn, Ish Sodhi, Lockie Ferguson and Tim Southee