T20 1: New Zealand vs India
The Kiwis are set to put on a festival of cricket in the coming weeks, and who better to invite than the world’s best all-round team.
T20 1: New Zealand vs India will light the blue touch-paper on what promises to be a spectacular tour. The curtain raiser at Eden Park in Auckland on Friday is the first of two twenty over bashes at this venue, as part of a five-match series. And this contest will be followed by three ODI’s and a two-match test series.
India are fifth and New Zealand sixth in the ICC T20 rankings, but either side can beat any other in the world on its day. While equally, if not more comfortable in the other formats of the game, India are second-favourites to win the 2020 T20 World Cup, currently at 4.50 here at SBOTOP, while the Black Caps at 8.00.
Anyway, back in the here and now, I’m particularly looking forward to the clash between New Zealand’s explosive opening batters and India’s deadly pace attack.
New Zealand’s Firecrackers
The New Zealand vs India match favour a winning start for the tourists, but the Men in Blue will be painfully aware of the damage the Kiwi’s top order can do. Colin Munro is an explosive batsman and sits fourth in the ICC T20 player rankings and he hurt India in the 2019 series.
The hosts’ powerful batting line-up can take apart the best of attacks. Martin Guptill has been putting bowlers to the sword for over a decade now, while Tom Siefert and Daryl Mitchell have been introduced and have shown that they know how to set a stadium alight.
The Kiwi batters need to perform to take a little pressure off a depleted bowling attack. Trent Boult and Lockie Ferguson are both sidelined with injury, which means quick bowlers Hamish Bennett and Scott Kuggeleijn have been lined up to face India. The 32-year-old Bennett has experience at this level, regularly featuring for the Kiwis in ODI contests, while leg spinner Ish Sodhi has a point to prove having been dismantled by England.
New Zealand have struggled for consistency recently but they were unlucky to lose in the ODI World Cup final last year to a Ben Stokes inspired England triumph as the Three Lions won a dramatic Super Over.
There’s plenty of quality in this team.
India’s Bowling better than ever
Kohli’s men have been outstanding on their home turf in recent times and now they are set to show what they can do on the road. They will be without the injured Ishant Sharma, but there’s no shortage of wicket-taking bowlers in the India pace attack.
Jasprit Bumrah has emerged as one of the most dangerous bowlers in world cricket, and his ability to bemuse batters with a range of yorkers and slow deliveries, combined with his electric pace when called on, make him a terrifying prospect at times. Mo Shami has unerring accuracy and Navdeep Shami is growing in confidence game by game.
On the batting side the tourists will be without opener Shikhar Darwan who is out with a shoulder strain. But look out for wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant; the left hander is emerging as a natural finisher with a dazzling array of strokes and is ready to step into the shoes of the great MS Dhoni.
It may come as a surprise, but the New Zealand vs India results in T20 cricket have favoured the Black Caps.
New Zealand won the 2019 T20 series against India by 2-1, and have won eight of the 12 twenty-over contests, with the Men in Blue winning three while a match at Visakhapatnam in 2012 was abandoned.
The Black Caps 80-run win at Wellington last year was the biggest margin of victory between the two teams, as Munro joined in a blistering partnership with Seifert, smashing 86 runs from 8.2 overs.
In all formats of the game, India have had the better since 2016, winning 13 to New Zealand’s 11; and India A have just beaten New Zealand A in an ODI clash. Will that pave the way for the senior team?
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