With the switch of the competition format, hosts New Zealand will be aiming to transform their fortunes as the three-match T20 International series gets underway at the Westpac stadium in Wellington tomorrow (Wednesday).
The Kiwis have been grounded in their own backyard by India’s absolute domination in all departments of the game during the five match ODI series. Stand-in skipper Rohit Sharma with his decision to bat first in adverse conditions in the fifth and final ODI at Wellington has sent a strong message to hosts as well as his teammates. To the mighty Men in Blue, identifying the chunks in their armoury and test their strengths in adversities matters more than the outcome of a match.
The team in pursuit to achieve ICC World Cup 2019 goals has risen above any instant results. Having said it, the visitors might not find the going in the T20Is as easy as during their 4-1 domination in the one-day internationals.
New Zealand are the only team to win more T20I matches than they have lost against India – six wins to two defeats.
India will be without Mohd Shami, their most potent attacking weapon in the ODIs. The shortest version gives better chance to the weaker teams as the challenge of lasting on the crease will be a mere 40%.
The Indian new ball attack will rely heavily on Bhubaneswar Kumar, who has struggled to put on display his best on the earlier part of this tour. The other likely partner Siddharth Kaul and Khaleel Ahmad are yet to achieve a lot to come closer to the Shami and Jaspreet Bumrah league. The home team’s batting will undoubtedly be in a position of advantage. New Zealand will miss the experience of Martin Guptill as they look to start afresh and get back to winning ways.
The top order failure against India’s incisive bowling unit was one area of concern for New Zealand in the ODI series. However, in the T20 the Indians bowling with the new ball is bound to bit a little less lethal.
The Wellington ground is known for offering early swing and the Indian top order, including skipper Sharma and veteran Shikhar Dhawan, has been vulnerable against moving deliveries on the last two occasions.
Chasing a target will be the most viable option. Unless, of course, Sharma would not like to “test” his team yet again.
India (Likely XI: Rohit Sharma (capt), Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant, Shubman Gill, MS Dhoni (wk), Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya/ Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Siddarth Kaul/Khaleel Ahmed
New Zealand (Likely XI): Tim Seifert, Colin Munro, Kane Williamson (c), Ross Taylor, Colin de Grandhomme, Jimmy Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Doug Bracewell, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi/Scott Kuggeleign, Lockie Ferguson
The match will be broadcast live on Star Sport 1 and Star Sports 1 HD with English commentary while Star Sports 1 Hindi and Star Sports 1 Hindi HD will be the screens for the Hindi commentary. Fans on the move can catch the live streaming on Star’s OTT platform Hotstar.
The match will start at 12:20 pm India time.