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|Colin de Grandhomme||3||4||0||0||75.00|
India won the ODI series against New Zealand without ever really needing to stretch itself or flexing its batting muscle. Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, and Rohit Sharma played well without dominating the series as they can sometimes do. There is no doubt that the side will take a lot of confidence into the T20 series against New Zealand especially because most of the squad is going to remain the same.
New Zealand is going to be very disappointed in the manner it failed to compete with India for a majority of the series. An exceptional spell of fast bowling from Trent Boult kept India down in the fourth match and for some time in the last ODI but as a team, New Zealand was unable to find answers to India’s bowling.
A shift to the T20 format should favor New Zealand, at least on paper. They are playing in home conditions where power hitting is a big part of the T20 equation. India, though, is the second-ranked team in the T20 format and New Zealand is down at 6th.
The home team will have to work very hard to win.
Martin Guptill has been ruled out of the T20 series against India because of an injury. Guptill did not really set the world on fire in the ODI’s but he is a definite part of New Zealand’s plans in the white ball format.
Jimmy Neesham has been brought in as the replacement and we think that is a huge plus for New Zealand. Neesham has grown leaps and bounds as a power hitter in the last one year or so and is in good form. He scored 44 in the last ODI and also smashed five sixes in one over against Thisara Perera just a few weeks ago.
New Zealand is likely going to bank on Kane Williamson to open the inning next to Colin Munro, although Tim Siefert could also get a go. New Zealand has not been able to get a good start in the ODI’s but there is hope because Colin Munro is much more proficient at playing T20 cricket.
Jimmy Neesham adds to the plethora of world-class all-rounders that New Zealand has at its disposal. Doug Bracewell and Colin de Grandhomme could both get a game while Mitchell Santner is also in the squad.
Ross Taylor has been vocal about wanting to be a part of New Zealand’s T20 side more regularly and will get another opportunity to translate his astonishing ODI form to the shortest format of the game.
The New Zealand batting looks very strong when considered individually but the side has to play better as a unit against India. The Indian spinners have been difficult to face for New Zealand and that challenge is not going to become any easier in this format.
Of course, the New Zealand bowling is very good as well. Lockie Ferguson, Tim Southee, and Blair Tickner are players that we expect to see in the playing eleven. Ish Sodhi may get a game at the expense of Santner to provide the spin options.
New Zealand may be ranked 6th in T20 cricket but it is definitely a strong team and is going to formidable to face at home.
Colin Munro, Tim Seifert, KS Williamson, Ross Taylor, Daryl Mitchell, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Scott Kuggeleijn, TG Southee, IS Sodhi, Lockie Ferguson.
Selection has become far from a straightforward thing in Indian cricket nowadays. There is competition for every place in the side and a number of conditions dictate which direction the side is going in. The ICC World Cup 2019 is around the corner and every player will know that a good performance in this series could increase their chances of being picked in the squad.
India has brought back MS Dhoni into the T20 side possibly with a view to give him some increased game time ahead of the World Cup. His return to side will probably mean that Rishab Pant will have to play as a pure batsman.
India has Dinesh Karthik as the third wicket-keeper in the team as well. Lokesh Rahul has been dropped from the T20 side that played against Australia.
Rohit Sharma and Shikhar are set to open the batting with Shubman Gill at number three. Three out of Dhoni, Pant, Karthik, and Jadhav will take up 4,5,6 in the team. We think one out of Pant or Jadhav is going to miss out with Jadhav being the likelier one to miss out.
Hardik Pandya will play at 7, Krunal Pandya at 8, and then two fast bowlers with one spinner. Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and Khaleel Ahmed should play with Kuldeep Yadav as the spinner.
This lineup provides a deep batting depth to India with Krunal Pandya at 8 and very capable of getting the big shots in. India will still be banking on its top-order to fire but will have the side to keep going hard no matter what the target ahead of them.
The presence of two all-rounders also gives them plenty of bowling options. Hardik, Krunal, Bhuvaneshwar, Khaleel, and Kuldeep should make for a very good bowling attack. India could actually afford to play with one batsman less and give itself another bowling option if it so wants.
All the Indian players play a lot of T20 cricket thanks to the IPL. They do not play T20 cricket in leagues abroad though and their style of playing has remained a bit distinctive. There is no question in our mind that the Indian team has the talent to adapt to the conditions and challenge New Zealand.
Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, RR Pant, V Shankar, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, YS Chahal, Khaleel Ahmed.
The team winning the toss is going to want to field first
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The first T20 between New Zealand and India is going to be played at the Westpac Stadium, Wellington. This is the same venue where the last ODI was played. Conditions were conducive to spin bowling for a bit before becoming excellent for batting. We expect the balance to be tilted more in favor of the batsmen in T20 cricket and a score of about 200 should be considered par.
The weather forecast for match day is excellent with very little chance of rain predicted.
The absence of some key players on both sides brings the two teams even closer. They both have strong batting lineups and bowlers capable of hitting their lengths. The crucial contest is going to be between the Indian spinners and the New Zealand batsmen. We think that the shift to the shorter format could favor New Zealand to start out with.
Back New Zealand to win.
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