India will be playing away from home in New Zealand
India takes on New Zealand in the first match of a five-match T20I series. The Men in Blue come at the back of an ODI series win against the Aussies and also back-to-back T20I series wins against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
This time, however, India will be playing away from home in New Zealand. The Men in Blue have already been hit with a piece of bad news as Shikhar Dhawan is set to miss this tour after hurting his elbow against Australia.
Nevertheless, India has a lot of talent to choose from as KL Rahul is expected to be the opening partner to Rohit Sharma for this tour. Both of these players are world-class batsmen and showed in the previous series that they are in good form.
Sharma scored a century in the last match against Australia to help his side to a win. At one down is the living legend Virat Kohli, who was awarded the man of the series for his performances against Australia.
Meanwhile, Shreyas Iyer seems to have made the number four position his own with solid performances at regular intervals. Indeed, he was impressive against the Aussies and this tour in New Zealand will be a real test for the middle-order batsman.
India’s top-order is so good that Manish Pandey rarely gets a shot at number five. He is, however, a man in form as he showed in the domestic circuit.
In the bowling department, Mohammad Shami was in great form against the Aussies while Navdeep Saini, too, impressed. Jasprit Bumrah, however, looked a little rusty but it was only expected as he returned to action after some time out due to injury.
Meanwhile, New Zealand will provide strong competition to the Men in Blue with skipper Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor in the mix. The two are the pillars of the Kiwi batting lineup and it will be up to them to build good scores against the Indian bowling attack.
They have, however, been hit with misfortune in their bowling department as Trent Boult and Lockie Ferguson are not expected to be fit for this game.
In New Zealand’s previous T20 series, the Kiwis lost 3-2 to England after losing the final match via a Super Over (ah, those darned Super Overs). As a result, they would be looking to avoid a repeat of that, which is why they could be more motivated.
In terms of conditions, the pitch at Eden Park is famous for being extremely friendly to the batsmen. It wouldn’t be surprising to see 400 or more runs being scored in this match and the bowlers will have to work really hard to get things going here.
In this regard, India has an advantage since they have their full-strength bowling unit. Bumrah is an extremely difficult player to score against while Shami has the ability to take wickets at regular intervals.
The hosts, however, will have a difficult task ahead of them given that they are missing their two key bowlers. As a result, it all comes down to batting impeccably for the Black Caps if they wish to win this match against the Men in Blue.