IND vs NZ: India aim to shrug off blip against the Kiwis

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IND vs NZ: India aim to shrug off blip against the Kiwis

29 Oct 2021 118 Views Yash Mittal

After a humbling defeat at the hands of arch-rivals Pakistan, Team India will look to get their T20 World Cup campaign back on track when they lock horns with New Zealand in their second Super-12 encounter on Sunday (October 31).


India's campaign got off to a disastrous start as they squandered their proud WC streak against a Pakistan unit that was at the peak of their powers last Sunday night.


A week-long break after such a demoralizing defeat can work two ways: either it can help the team recover from the set-back and galvanize them for challenges ahead or it can lead to overthinking among players about what could have been.


Either way, the break came at a right time for India, considering the fact that they have pretty much been on road since the last IPL. It would have allowed them to reflect and look ahead to what is going to be a high-pressure 10 days ahead.


The format of the tournament is such that you run the risk of falling behind in the semi-finals race even if you lose the first couple of games.


While India will not get knocked out if they lose to New Zealand, it will certainly make their task arduous as far as qualifying for the knockouts is concerned.


But this is not the first time that Team India finds itself in such a situation. Think back to the last T20 WC where MS Dhoni's men lost to the Kiwis in their opening game but still went on to qualify for the semis (thanks largely to Virat Kohli).


Having said that, New Zealand have long been a bogey side for the "Men in Blue" in ICC events. India haven't won a game in ICC events against the BlackCaps since the 2003 World Cup. Their previous two meetings in the T20 WC have resulted in humbling defeats.


But, then, from the evidence of what we have seen this year- India breaching the Gabbatoir and Pakistan slaying India's World Cup streak - another jinx may well be on its way to become a thing of the past this Sunday?


As is always the case when India loses a game of cricket, fans have been calling for a major revamp to the playing XI for the game against New Zealand. There are suggestions to drop Hardik Pandya and include Ishan Kishan at the top of the order and demote one of Rahul or Rohit in the middle order.


However, with Hardik Pandya reportedly likely to bowl, it is extremely unlikely that India will drop him from the playing XI. One change that one can expect India to make is to include Shardul Thakur in place of a struggling Bhuvneshwar Kumar.


The inclusion of Shardul will not only add depth to batting but will also provide Virat a seam-bowling option during the middle overs.


As far as the make-up of the spin unit is concerned, New Zealand has a couple of left-handers in their top-6 which might prompt the management to include R Ashwin in place of Varun Chakravarthy, who has had his fair share of struggles in Dubai, both in IPL as well as in the first game against Pakistan.


What about New Zealand though?  Their lack of firepower with the bat and poor death bowling stocks in the absence of Lockie Ferguson were exposed to the hilt during their defeat to Pakistan.


Will they bring in Adam Milne in their playing XI? And if yes, whom will they drop? Tim Southee, whose record at the death isn't exactly great. The same can be said about Trent Boult too but the left-arm angle that he brings to the table could prove to be a handful in the power play against the Indian top-3.


When: Sunday, October 31, 07:30 PM IST


Where: Dubai International Stadium


What to expect?


With dew playing a major role in Dubai, defending totals have proved to be a very difficult task for teams. Also, with the pitch playing low and slow in the first half, teams batting first have not been able to post an above par score. Given the trends, both sides will look to chase.


Stats and Trivia:


  • India and New Zealand have met 12 times in ICC events. The BlackCaps have emerged victorious on 9 occasions, the most recent being the 2019 WC semi-final and 2021 WTC final.
  • The Kiwis have won both their T20 WC encounters against India - 2007 and 2016.
  • India blanked New Zealand 5-0 in their T20I bilateral rubber.
  • Last six 50+ scores in T20 WC by an Indian have all been scored by Virat Kohli.
  • KL Rahul has the best average strike rate for India among the current squad against New Zealand in T20Is - 224 runs in 5 innings at 56.00 and a strike rate of 144.51.
  • Kane Williamson - 325 runs in 11 innings - is the leading scorer in New Zealand's squad against India.
  • Jasprit Bumrah - 10 wickets in 9 innings at 21.30 and economy rate of 6.26- is the most successful bowler for India against New Zealand in the format.
  • Ish Sodhi- 17 wickets in 12 innings at 19.05 and an economy rate of 7.53- is New Zealand's most successful bowler against India in T20Is.



Probable Playing XI:


India:

KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli ©, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (WK), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Varun Chakravarthy/R Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah


New Zealand: 

Martin Guptill, Daryl Mitchell, Kane Williamson ©, James Neesham, Devon Conway, Glenn Phillips, Tim Siefert (WK), Mitch Santner, Ish Sodhi, Trent Boult, Tim Southee/Adam Milne


Yash Mittal

Bharat Army Cricket Writer

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