New Zealand and India will meet in the first T20I of a three match series in Wellington on Friday, November 18th. The match is scheduled to begin at 7.30 pm local time.
Both teams would have been hoping that this would be a repeat of the World Cup final after they each topped their Super 12 group. Both though, ultimately suffered disappointment, New Zealand lost to Pakistan by seven wickets, whilst India were thrashed by England, losing by ten wickets.
Each team will want to return to winning ways again.
Head to head
They have played 20 T20Is matches before and India leads their head to head series by 11 matches to 9. India have a good record on New Zealand soil as well, having won six of the ten matches they have contested there.
They were particularly successful on their last tour of New Zealand in 2020, achieving a clean sweep in a five match series.
New Zealand make changes
After the World Cup exit, New Zealand have rung the changes. Trent Boult has been left out because, earlier this year, he declined the offer of a central contract, indicating that he wished to scale down his international commitments.
Another experienced man to miss out is opener Martin Guptill, with coach Gary Stead saying that it was now time to start planning for the future. One man seen as very much part of that is Finn Allen, who will be playing India for the first time.
Meanwhile Adam Milne has been recalled for what would be his first ODI in five years after a return to form in the shorter form of the white ball game.
One man still unavailable, though, is fast bowler Kyle Jamieson as he continues to recover from the back injury he sustained against England in the summer.
Pandya takes over as India skipper
Hardik Pandya has been named as Indian skipper for this series, with Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and KL Rahul all given time off. Rishabh Pant will be his deputy, but, with Sanju Samson in the side as well, may just be asked to concentrate on his batting.
Can India begin to learn World Cup lessons?
Although there was disappointment about the way that India’s World Cup campaign ended, there were also some lessons to be learned, particularly in terms of approach. Too often India have adopted a cautious approach when batting, preferring to play their way into an innings and providing the later batters with a platform.
There have been suggestions that is now outmoded, compared to England, for example, who try to attack from the first ball. It does not always pay off, but, when it does, the rewards can be great.
It would take bravery to change the approach now, but some feel that, until they do so, they will continue to come up short in the big competitions.
England have also shown greater reliance on spinners, believing that players like Adil Rashid can be attacking options, even though they can be costly on occasion. India, by contrast have been reluctance to trust bowlers like Yuzvendra Chahal in the big tournaments.
The weather forecast for the day of the match is not particularly promising with rain forecast during the day.
Rain, in fact, has had a major role to play in some of the recent games played in Wellington. As with many grounds in New Zealand it uses a drop-in pitch -the surface is prepared away from the ground itself and dropped-in for the match itself – and has traditionally favoured the batting side.
There are pluses and minuses in this series coming so soon after the World Cup. On the plus side it is a chance for both teams to get back on the horse again, and get back to winning ways. However, it may also be a case of being after the “Lord Mayor’s” show and, apart from the commercial benefits, there seems little to play for in this series,
India do have the better head to head record, but with some of their big names left at home to rest, the home side will start favourites for this match and the series as a whole.
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