After a wonderful hard-fought ODI Series, the focus now shifts to the shortest format of the game, with first of the 3 match series scheduled to take place at Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in New Delhi. Interestingly, India have NEVER won a T20I against the Blackcaps. The visitors have won 5 out of the 5 matches played against them, including the humbling of India on a crazy rank-turner in Nagpur in the World T20 2016 opening game.
India would be confident that they can break that jinx, given that their death bowling has improved tremendously over the past few games with Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah choking the runs with the minimum of fuss.
With Ashish Nehra bidding farewell to international cricket after the first T20, it will be interesting to see how Kohli will use the 3 of them, or will he go with only 2 fast bowlers. Shreyas Iyer and Mohammad Siraj have also been drafted into the squad. Will Kohli play the experienced personnel in at least the first 2 games? Or will he experiment at the beginning? These are the primary questions to be answered tomorrow.
As far as the Feroz Shah Kotla pitch and conditions are concerned, the ground surface is usually sluggish, and also two-paced. Slower balls are potent defensive weapons. There is no chance of rain.
Given that Nehra will play his last ever T20 international, either Bhuvneshwar Kumar or Bumrah are expected to be on the bench. It is also highly doubtful that Mohammad Siraj or Shreyas Iyer will be in the playing X1. Otherwise, it will be the same ODI side.
Tom Latham could retain his place given his superb form in the ODI series and considering the slower Delhi surface; New Zealand could play two spinners. Ish Sodhi, who was also instrumental in the World T20 opener, could take his place in the side
- Virat Kohli requires 38 more runs to become the second highest ever in runs tally in T20Is. He is currently on the trails of Brendon McCullum and Tillakaratne Dilshan.
- Ashish Nehra is the third-highest wicket-taker for India in T20Is, with Jasprit Bumrah and R Ashwin ahead of him.
- Despite India’s winless record against New Zealand, they have a winning percentage of 58.82% in the format, compared to New Zealand’s 50.5%.
India to bat first, and defend a total of 160-170.