After registering a comprehensive 3-0 whitewash over the Kiwis in the ODI leg, India will be looking to deliver another strong performance as they take on New Zealand in the first T20I of the three-match series in Ranchi on Friday.
Rohit Sharma has been rested for this series again and Hardik Pandya will be seen taking over Captaincy duties from him. According to the latest reports, Ruturaj Gaikwad has been ruled out of the series with an injury and Prithvi Shaw is expected to replace him. But Shubman Gill, who scored a double ton and a century in the ODI leg, and Ishan Kishan are most likely to be the preferred opening choice again. Rahul Tripathi should also get a look in at No.3 after impressing in the T20Is against Sri Lanka.
Youngsters Umran Malik, Arshdeep Singh and Shivam Mavi are expected to form the pace trio as other senior pacers have been kept out. They did quite well during the T20Is against Sri Lanka and are expected to deliver in this series again.
As far as things for New Zealand go, Mitchell Santner will be seen leading them during these three T20Is. Apart from that, the squad remains pretty similar to that of the ODIs, barring a few omissions like that of Tom Latham.
New Zealand’s main concern, however, will be their bowling once again. The bowlers were totally taken to the cleaners by the Indian batters during the ODIs and they need to devise effective strategies to avoid getting hammered in a similar way in these T20Is. If they can do that, they can deliver a competitive performance, otherwise the result is going to be pretty similar.
Probable Playing XIs
India: Ishan Kishan (wk), Shubman Gill, Rahul Tripathi, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya (C), Deepak Hooda, Washington Sundar, Shivam Mavi, Kuldeep Yadav, Umran Malik, Arshdeep Singh
New Zealand: Finn Allen, Devon Conway (wk), Mark Chapman, Glenn Phillips, Daryl Mitchell, Michael Bracewell, Mitchell Santner (C), Michael Rippon, Ish Sodhi, Lockie Ferguson, Blair Tickner
Hardik Pandya: The Indian skipper lends a lot of balance to the side with his batting and bowling abilities. He enjoyed a very good outing in the ODIs. Pandya scored a fifty in the final ODI and also claimed a wicket. He will be looking to carry that form forward into this T20I series.
Devon Conway: The top-order batter scored a magnificent century in the third ODI and led New Zealand’s charge during an uphill battle. Conway also has a very successful T20I record for New Zealand. He has over 1000 T20I runs to his name at an average of 48.75 and strike-rate of 130.58.
New Zealand’s bowling attack doesn’t inspire confidence once again and that hands India the advantage once again in conditions that are quite familiar to them. That’s why the hosts are favourites to win this contest again.