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New Zealand vs India 2020, 1st T20I: T20Is Kick Off a Full-Fledged Tour

India play New Zealand in a full-fledged tour comprising of five T20Is, three ODIs and two Tests with the T20Is kicking off the series from January 24 at Eden Park, Auckland. This is the first time India is playing in a five-match T20I series. Also, this is the first time both the teams are meeting since their last in the 2019 World Cup semi-final where India lost to New Zealand to exit the tournament. India comes into the series after being unbeaten at home since September last year, while the Kiwis are fresh from being whitewashed in a three-match Test series by Australia. The New Zealand vs India 2020 series will get over on March 4, 2020.

Keeping in mind that this is the year of the World T20, the respective boards have decided to focus more on the shorter format. The last time the two sides played T20 cricket in New Zealand, the Kiwis won the three-match series 2-1. Also, New Zealand are the only team to have beaten India in a bilateral series since January 2016. In T20Is, New Zealand hold an edge of over India. They have met each other 12 times with the Kiwis winning eight and India just three. In fact, India had to wait till their seventh game to notch up their first win against the Kane Williamson-led side. 

Image result for Dhawan shoulder injury
Photo Source: ( https://www.bcci.tv/)

 The teams for the T20Is have been announced. Despite some key players missing from both teams, the squads look pretty well-organized and competitive. While Shikhar Dhawan misses for India, Trent Boult, Lockie Ferguson and Matt Henry are all injured for the Kiwis. Eyes will be also on Prithvi Shaw, who is making a return to international cricket after serving an 8-month ban. He is also due for his maiden ODI cap after the BCCI named him in India’s 50-over squad. 

Also Read: Prithvi Shaw: Decoding the Youngster’s Comeback in International Cricket

Image result for Kohli-Williamson 2020 T20I series photoshoot
Photo Source: (https://twitter.com/cricketworldcup)

The bigger picture of this New Zealand vs India 2020 T20I series, however, is to look as to how do the teams play the series. While for India, they would like to continue their winning streak, for the Kiwis this series is one of revival. The lost the T20I series against England, Test series to Australia and now face an indomitable Indian side capable of playing in any condition. However, their better T20I record against India is something that will give them confidence heading into the series. Another bigger picture is choosing between Rishabh Pant and KL Rahul as the first choice keeper. Rahul kept in the final game in Bengaluru which provided a better balance to the squad as per Indian skipper Virat Kohli. Now it will be interesting to see is India goes in with the same formulae for the T20Is against New Zealand. 

The Indian middle-order is a topic of debate since the Asia Cup 2018 and it has still been the same after almost a year and a half. The Indian top three of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and KL Rahul is expected to be the main run-getters for Team India. However, they will be wary of the threat that the Kiwi bowling attack posses. Their spinners have enjoyed huge success against Indian batsmen and so have their pacers. Ish Sodhi especially has had a good record against India in T20Is taking 11 wickets.

The pitch conditions will also be in focus as the New Zealand vs India 2020 series starts. A cloud cover and some drizzle is expected in the morning and evening which could affect the 7.50 pm local time start. With no heavy rain expected, we should get a game even if with reduced overs. Out of the 20 matches played, nine have been won by the team batting first and eight by the team batting second.

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Photo Source: (https://twitter.com/cricketworldcup)

One underlining highlight of this New Zealand vs India 2020 series is that the Indian team will be looking for revenge against the Kiwis as the World Cup 2019 semi-final defeat is still fresh in the minds of not only the players but also the fans as well. However, skipper Kohli has denied any such sentiment saying “Honestly, even if you think of revenge, these guys are so nice you can’t get into that. We get along really well with all these guys.”

Also Read: IPL 2020 Captains: Leaders of All 8 Teams

Squads:

New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Kane Williamson(c), Tim Seifert(w), Ross Taylor, Colin de Grandhomme, Daryl Mitchell, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Blair Tickner, Scott Kuggeleijn, Hamish Bennett

India: Rohit Sharma, Lokesh Rahul, Virat Kohli(c), Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant(w), Washington Sundar, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, Sanju Samson, Mohammed Shami, Navdeep Saini, Kuldeep Yadav, Shivam Dube

Here are some interesting stats ahead of the series opener in Auckland

  1. New Zealand are the only team to beat India in a T20I bilateral series since January 2016.

2. Their win percentage of 27.27 is the worst amongst all the teams that they have played.

3. The pair of Rohit-Rahul, Rahul- Dhawan and Rohit-Dhawan all average above 30 in T20Is overall.

4. Martin Guptill averages under 16 in T20Is against India. He has 108 runs from seven matches against the Men in Blue.

Meanwhile, this is the Dream XI Predicted team for the first T20I

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