New Zealand, India battle to showcase supremacy in white-ball cricket
A resurgent New Zealand side will take on high-flying India in the five-match T20I series, starting from January 24 in Auckland.
This is going to be the first-ever five-match series in the shortest format of the game at the international level which clearly indicates that respective boards are taking the T20 format very seriously.
The home side will enter the contest as underdogs despite playing at home, largely because of their recent results which were far from satisfactory as they are coming back after suffering whitewash in the five-day format against Australia.
However, New Zealand will be hoping to recover from poor form and produce their best on the field against one of the toughest opposition in the world of cricket.
Kiwis will be led by right-handed batsman Kane Williamson who will also have the services of explosive openers Martin Guptill, Colin Munro and veteran middle-order batsman Ross Taylor to put some decent totals on the board which could put the visitors under pressure despite having one of the best batting lineups in the world. Colin de Grandhomme has really raised his game with the bat and delivered superlative performances for New Zealand in the T20 format.
On the bowling front, the home side have already suffered a major blow with the exclusion of star fast-bowler Trent Boult which has now put the onus on the likes of pacers Tim Southee, Hamish Bennett and spin-duo of Ish Sodhi and Mitchell Santner to produce timely breakthroughs. Lockie Ferguson and Trent Boult will miss the five-match T20I series due to injuries.
On the other hand, team India will enter the contest as favourties after beating in-form Australia with a 2-1 score line in the recently concluded One-Day International (ODI) series.
India will be led by star batsman Virat Kohli who will have the services of veteran openers Rohit Sharma, Shreyas Iyerand stylish right-hander KL Rahul to put the home team on the back foot by having ample amount of runs on the board. Shikhar Dhawan has ruled out of the tour due to injury. In his absence, KL Rahul has done a splendid job with the bat for India in the T20 format. He will be looking to continue his rich vein of form with the bat in this five-match T20I series.
On the bowling front, the visitors will be relying heavily on the likes of star fast-bowler Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Shami and wrist-spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav to dismantle the home team’s batting lineup. Shardul Thakur and Navdeep Saini are other two pace options included in the squad for T20I series against New Zealand.
Both teams last met during the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup 2019 semi-finals where the Black Caps emerged victorious, courtesy some sublime fast-bowling.
In the last five meetings between both teams in the T20Is, it is slight advantage to New Zealand who emerged victorious three times compared to India’s two victories.The five-match T20I series will be followed by three ODI and two Test series and the tour will be concluded on February 29.