NZ vs IND, 1st T20I, Westpac Stadium, Wellington, February 06, 2019
After a short-fall in Hamilton against the black caps, India got back on track by the 5th ODI at Wellington. Rohit Sharma’s men wrapped up the ODI series 4-1 and now it’s time for some T20I fun. If you ever thought India was dominant in the ODI series, here is the reason: The Men in Blue are unbeaten in the last ten T20I series. While New Zealand has lost six of the last ten T20I they played. But there’s a catch, India is yet to win the T20I against the Kiwis away from home. So, Team India has the challenge on hand and here are a few things that make the T20I series a must-watch.
THE HITMAN’S LOVE FOR T20I
Rohit Sharma is India’s best T20I batsman. With 2237 runs from 82 games, the opener is the third highest run-getter in T20I’s. Also, he became the first player to hit 4 T20 international centuries. Not only with his bat but Rohit is also highly effective as a Captain in T20I as well. Currently, he holds the best win percentage in 12 games, captaining for India winning 11 of them.
PANT OR GILL: WHO WILL BAT AT 3?
In the absence of Virat Kohli, Shubman Gill batted at number 3 in the last two ODIs. The 19-year-old struggled against a fiery truant bowl, but it will be harsh to drop the young man after just two games. However, with Rishabh Pant returning on the squad, India would be tempted to try out the flam point left in number 3. Batting one down, Pant has a career strike rate of 159. Now if the Delhi capital man gets going, New Zealand would be infernal left behind.
DHONI & KARTHIK: THE BEST FINISHERS
If Rishabh Pant joins the batting order at no: 3, India would have two more wicketkeepers following him in the position of 4 and 5. With MS Dhoni and Dinesh Karthik, India have the two best finishers in the T20 format. Dhoni was rested for the T20I series against West Indies and Australia. Later, he also received some serious flag for slow batting, but his T20I record in 2018 is more than impressive. In five games, Dhoni has scored 123 runs at an average of 41 with a strike rate of 156. Dinesh Karthik has done even better, In eleven games the KKR skipper has scored 181 runs with an average of 60.3 and with a strike rate of 152.
PANDYA BROTHERS: FIRST TIME TOGETHER?
The Pathan brothers were quite ahead for India in limited overs in cricket and now it’s time for the Pandya brothers to illuminate them. This is the first time both Krunal and Hardik have been included in the same squad. Krunal made his debut against West Indies last November but his performance against Australia that stood out. The left-arm spinner picked up 5 wickets in 3 games which included a 4 wicket haul. Hardik Pandya recently had a threat but that did not dampen his spirit. Against New Zealand, the hard-hitting all-rounder was effective with the bat and in the 5th ODI, he smashed 45 runs in just 22 balls. The team management might pick one of the brothers depending on the conditions but it would be great to see both of them down the India blues in the same game.
BATTLE OF SPIN TWINS: KUL-CHA VS SO-SA
The partnership between Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal has been India’s best success story. The two twin spinners have created a walk-in-middle order and have gone through sides. The duo has featured in Ten T20I’s together and has claimed 41 wickets between them at an average of just 13.6. New Zealand too has their set of spinner twins, Sodhi and Santner. The kiwi’s spin duo has been New Zealand’s most important strike force in own conditions. Since 2017, Sodhi has picked up 24 wickets in 19 games, the highest among the Kiwis. In T20I cricket India has struggled the most against Sodhi and Santner. The duo has picked up 23 Indian wickets at an average of just 23. So can the spinner duo repeat their feeds again or will India go on yet another winning spree?
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