New Zealand and West Indies will lock horns in the first T20I of the three-match series on Friday in Auckland. Tim Southee will lead the Black Caps while Kieron Pollard will captain the touring Windies side.
West Indies last played an international game in the three-match Test series against England in July. New Zealand, meanwhile, hasn't featured since before the COVID-19 break, when they played the first ODI against Australia in March.
Both sides will look to start this series on a winning note and will be missing key players. So it'll be interesting to see which team comes up trumps.
Date: November 27, 2020 (Friday)
Time: 11:30 AM (IST), 06:00 AM (GMT), 07:00 PM (Local)
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
It'll be cloudy in Auckland for most of the match. The average temperature during the match will be 18 degrees Celsius, with minimal chance of a rain disturbance.
Eden Park has always been a good wicket to bat on, and the small straight boundaries are sure to encourage batsmen to go for the big hits.
The pitch is conducive to both seamers and spinners, although both the teams aren't likely to field more than one spinner. Any score above 170-175 will be considered as par.
Devon Conway is likely to make his debut for New Zealand and open the innings along with Martin Guptill. It'll be a toss-up to choose between Glenn Phillips and Mark Chapman for the No. 3 slot, although it's the former that's more likely to feature.
Tim Seifert, Jimmy Neesham, and Mitchell Santner should form the middle-order along with Ross Taylor.
New Zealand: Devon Conway, Martin Guptill, Glenn Phillips/ Mark Chapman, Ross Taylor, Tim Seifert(WK), Jimmy Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee(C), Kyle Jamieson, Lockie Ferguson, and Ish Sodhi.
Andre Fletcher should open the batting for West Indies along with Brandon King, in the absence of Lendl Simmons and Evin Lewis. Shimron Hetmyer, Nicholas Pooran, and skipper Kieron Pollard should form the middle-order.
Keemo Paul and Fabian Allen should form the lower middle-order of the team. Allen could also be the lone spinner for West Indies if they want to play an extra pacer.
Sheldon Cottrell, Oshane Thomas, and Kesrick Williams should form the pace battery of the team along with Keemo Paul. Hayden Walsh could come in for the out-of-form Cottrell if the team management decide to play an extra spinner.
West Indies: Andre Fletcher, Brandon King, Shimron Hetmyer, Nicholas Pooran(WK), Rovman Powell/ Kyle Mayers, Kieron Pollard(C), Keemo Paul, Fabian Allen, Sheldon Cottrell/ Hayden Walsh, Oshane Thomas, and Kesrick Williams
Given that they're missing some of their key players, the Black Caps won't start this series as favorites despite their home advantage.
Many of the West Indies players would be confident after a successful IPL 2020, and they are likely to emerge as the winner, at least in the first T20I.
Prediction: West Indies to win.Published 24 Nov 2020, 19:18 IST