Nagpur: In a purple zone with 10 victories in last Twenty-20 international, India will kick off the ICC World T20 tournament as favorites’ against New Zealand today at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium in Nagpur.
India has been in a brilliant form in the shortest format of the game recently, winning their last seven outings which included a 3-0 whitewash of World 50 over champions Australia in the latter’s backyard. They then went on to win the Asia Cup on a canter after beating Sri Lanka at home 2-1.
The five consecutive wins in Dhaka, including in the summit clash against Bangladesh that led to their continental supremacy in the T20 game, has given the team a huge morale boost. India’s settled combination with Mahendra Singh Dhoni, make them the odd-on favorite to script history. In home conditions, India would be a big threat to the rest of the competitors, including New Zealand.
The minor hiccup in India’s build-up to this competition was their loss to South Africa by four runs in a practice match and this was perhaps a wake-up call for the team to avoid being complacent.
Virat Kohli have been into great form in the last two months, leading four successful run-chases along with the equally talented Rohit Sharma who is set to play in his sixth WT20 championship. Jasprit Bumrah talent to bowl has given the team considerably boost going into the tournament.
The duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja should be the front-runners to take up two spots and the team has the choice of adding either Harbhajan Singh or Pawan Negi to the combination.
New Zealand too have the players to trouble India, Led by Kane Williamson, a classically elegant batsman who ups his gears when opening in T20Is, the Kiwis are well-served with a set of explosive batsmen in Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Grant Elliott, Ross Taylor and Corey Anderson.
India vs New Zealand
INDIA – Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt.); Ravichandran Ashwin; Jasprit Bumrah; Shikhar Dhawan; Ravindra Jadeja; Virat Kohli; Pawan Negi; Ashish Nehra; Hardik Pandya; Ajinkya Rahane; Suresh Raina; Mohammed Shami; Rohit Sharma; Harbhajan Singh and Yuvraj Singh.
Team Director – Ravi Shastri
NEW ZEALAND – Kane Williamson (capt.), Corey Anderson, Trent Boult, Grant Elliott, Martin Guptill, Adam Milne, Mitchell McClenaghan, Nathan McCullum, Colin Munro, Henry Nicholls, Luke Ronchi, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee and Ross Taylor.
Coach – Mike Hesson