India eye 1st T20I win over Kiwis

When the Kiwis came touring, very few cricket fanatics would have given them any chance of putting up a fight against an in-form Indian team who had recently trounced Sri Lanka in their own backyard, and Australia at home. However, many pundits were proven wrong as the Kiwis surprised many fans by winning the first ODI. They lost the second, but put up a solid fight in the third, losing by just 6 runs, while chasing over 300. The last time India played New Zealand in a T20I was during the World T20 that was staged in India last year. There was no happy memory for the hosts from that game as they were skittled out for just 79.

New Zealand can boast about their T20I record against India, with their heads held high. India have never won a T20I against the Kiwis. They have played 6 so far, and have lost 5, with one game being abandoned. While the Kiwis have had an upper hand over the Indians, this is the first time the two sides are playing a bilateral T20I series with 3 games in it. With the kind of winning form, India are in, it will be a tough task for the visitors to beat them 3-0, and maintain their unbeaten streak against India in the format.

New Zealand’s middle-order has been in great touch, but their concern lies right at the top. Although, Colin Munro got back among the runs, his partner Martin Guptill, who is a big-match player hasn’t been amassing many. Kane Williamson will be glad that he scored a few in the final ODI, and will look to take his confidence into this series. Their bowling took some tap in Kanpur, but possesses all the fire-power for a good T20I performance.

India, on the other hand look like the more balanced side. They have power and finesse in their batting, and the bowling can be very lethal on any track in the world with quality pacers and wily spinners. Kohli may shuffle the batting line-up depending on the match-situation, and batsmen like Hardik Pandya and MS Dhoni may be promoted if the team doesn’t lose too many wickets, leading up to the death overs. The team has two new faces in Shreyas Iyer and Mohammed Siraj, but they may have to wait for their debut. It will be interesting to see if the team persists with Dinesh Karthik or opts to play Manish Pandey in this format. The match is in Delhi, and Ashish Nehra, who is part of his squad will retire after this game. He will be hoping for a farewell match in front of his home crowd, but a call on whether he will play or no rests on Kohli who will assess the team combination.

Feroz Shsh Kotla, Delhi:
Five teams have played at least one T20I at the Kotla, while India haven’t. New Zealand did play a T20I during the World T20 over here, and lost to England. The pitch is usually conducive to batting, and big scores have been secured in Delhi in the past. The dimensions of the ground aren’t too long, and sixes can be easily hit. It could be a field day for the bowlers.

Virat Kohli vs Colin de Grandhomme:
What’s with great batsmen and dibbly-dobbly medium pacers? We may never know! Perhaps, it’s the lack of pace that bothers such batsmen. Virat Kohli has had his share of troubles against de Grandhmme’s medium pace. He has even got the better of Kohli once in the ODI series. Kohli will be itching to take him on in the shortest format.

Mitchell Santner vs Rohit Sharma:
Rohit Sharma is beautiful to watch against pace, but he is equally pleasing to the eye when he lofts spinners effortlessly. If he stays in longer, he might face Santner once again. After his recent success against the left-arm spinner, Rohit will look to clear the short boundaries at the Kotla.

Jasprit Bumrah vs Martin Guptill:
The Kiwi opener is a very dangerous batsman, but he hasn’t fired at all so far on this tour. He may prefer playing pace over spin, but it’s the pacers who have got the better of him in the three ODIs. He will look to prove a point in the T20Is though, but will have to contend with some intelligent fast bowling by Jasprit Bumrah.

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