About the Match
India and New Zealand just played out a bilateral ODI series for the ages where both teams were in the hunt till the final over. It was almost a travesty that there were only three ODI’s to be played between the two sides, however, thankfully we now have three T20 internationals to look forward to. Both India and New Zealand are evenly matched sides that will go at each other hard and we expect another closely matched series this time around.
T20 cricket is probably India’s least favorite format right now and it is something to do with the nature of this team. India plays the exact same team in the ODI and the T20 format and so some of India’s strengths in the longer formats of the game can actually hamper them in the shortest one.
For one thing, India often finds itself 20-30 runs short while batting first because it does not go hard enough for long enough. The culprit can be the Indian middle order which still comprises of batsmen that are looking to cement their place in the middle.
It is also apparent that the Indian selectors recognize this because they have added Shreyas Iyer into the squad who will compete for the middle order slot along with Dinesh Karthik, Manish Pandey, and Lokesh Rahul.
We think he will probably have to wait for sometime before making his debut and have to sit out with Lokesh Rahul.
Another youngster who has been picked for the Indian team for the first time is Mohammad Siraj, a fast bowler who impressed in the IPL and has had some good domestic performances since. He will gain a lot from being in the squad but currently, stands very little chance of actually breaking into the playing eleven because of the strong bowling setup.
The batsmen to watch out for India are going to be once again Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, and Virat Kohli. Out of these three, we think that Dhawan and Kohli are the most likely to score big runs.
The bowling attack will be more or less similar to that seen in the ODI;s with Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah leading the way supported by the two spinners. Yuzvendra Chahal is sure to play all the matches but the slot for the second spinner might well go to Kuldeep Yadav, who is much more difficult to read than Axar Patel.
India needs to get its tempo right for the T20 game, however, the personnel that it has cannot be faulted.
We could have easily been writing about how New Zealand planned perfectly for the conditions and emerged winners in the ODI series because they came so close to achieving it but were thwarted in the end.
In the T20 format, though, we believe that New Zealand has a stronger team than the Indians.
Martin Guptill looked strangely subdued during his ODI stint but a shift to the T20 format should help clear out his mind. We are backing him and Colin Munro to score some massive runs and take full advantage of the small boundaries that they will encounter.
Speaking of Munro, his six hitting ability is something to be amazed at and with runs at his back, he could prove to be New Zealand’s most destructive weapon.
Kane Williamson has been opening the inning in the last few T20’s for New Zealand but he could drop down to 3 for this series. He also hit form in the last match and that promises to be a huge advantage for New Zealand going forward.
New Zealand’s middle order of Taylor, Guptill, and de Grandhomme is actually stronger than India and could prove to be the difference between the two sides.
The bowling attack will once again depend on Trent Boult, Tim Southee, and Mitchell Santner for the bulk of the wickets with the others chipping in. New Zealand had success with Ish Sodhi in the side against India but his selection could depend on conditions being especially favorable to the spinners.
New Zealand is also far superior to India in the field and that could make an important difference in the upcoming series.
Pitch and Conditions
The weather in New Delhi is expected to be pleasantly cool with next to no chance of rain. The pitch at the Feroz Shah Kotla is flat, a little low, but good for batting on the whole. The small boundaries make defending a target very difficult so batting second could be the order of the day.
New Zealand to wi