After suffering a humiliating series loss at home to India, New Zealand cricket team will be gunning to make a blistering comeback in the 3-match T20I series which will start from February 6, Wednesday. On the other hand, Team India will have to do without talismanic skipper Virat Kohli as his deputy Rohit Sharma will marshall the travelling troops in the 3-match series. For the Kiwis, there will be much pressure on captain Kane Williamson and the entire top batting order of the home team which has failed to impress with the bat in the recently-concluded ODI series.
The Black Caps are a formidable force when it comes to the shortest format of the game, however, Men in Blue are also known for their sheer dominance across all forms of the game. New Zealand’s 4-1 ODI series defeat came as a shock to cricket fans across the world because many were expecting the Kiwis to give fierce competition to the visitors. But apparently, the unreal form of both Indian batters and bowlers has proved to be too difficult to deal with for the hosts.
Key players to watch out:
Among Indian ranks, Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan will be the natural openers and much will depend on them. Both the batsmen are in good nick and can cause all kinds of troubles to the New Zealand bowling attack, which will be without rested Trent Boult. Also, Rishabh Pant can surprise everyone with the bat after being rested in the ODI series.
On the bowling front, Mohammed Shami and Yuzvendra Chahal have been too lethal with the ball in New Zealand series. While a returning Hardik Pandya has shown his prowess with both bat and ball in the two matches he has played, and he can be India’s trump card in the upcoming series.
From New Zealand, Colin Munro is without a doubt the most potent threat to India. Munro, who amassed over 500 runs at an impressive strike rate of nearly 180 last season in T20Is, can switch gears after suffering a turbulent ODI series. Kiwis skipper Kane Williamson is another dependable batsman who thrives under pressure. Although he is not an explosive batter, he knows how to hold the fort.
Much stakes will be on Tim Southee and Scott Kuggeleign in the absence of bowling spearhead Trent Boult. Both the bowlers have been largely successful last season for the Balck Caps and they can repeat their heroics yet again at Westpac Stadium, Wellington.
What is the Dream XI?
Dream XI: Rohit Sharma, Colin Munro, Shikhar Dhawan, Kane Williamson (C), Rishabh Pant, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Tim Southee, Lockie Ferguson, Yuzvendra Chahal
What are the expected line ups?
India: Rohit Sharma (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant, Shubman Gill, MS Dhoni (wk), Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Khaleel Ahmed
New Zealand: Tim Seifert, Colin Munro, Kane Williamson (c), Ross Taylor, Colin de Grandhomme, Jimmy Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Doug Bracewell, Tim Southee, Scott Kuggeleign, Lockie Ferguson