What a marvellous tour it has been for India so far, having captured the series within the first three games itself, and then eventually going on to wrap up the series 4-1. They tried out a lot of combinations and even tried batting first and chasing through the series, emerging champions with whatever they did.
Now however comes a different challenge with New Zealand hosting Team India for three T20I games, starting 6th February 2019. The 1st T20I will be played at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington and the home team has won their last 4 T20 internationals here, while India lost their only T20 game here back in 2009.
Now we know that Rohit Sharma loves being captain, and moreover, loves the shortest format of the game. Virat Kohli has been rested for the entire series which gives Sharma a chance to lead India to yet another series win as captain. In the very few games played at this stadium, 190+ scores have been achieved on a couple of occasions, so clearly, batting friendly conditions will be displayed. Any bets on another Rohit Sharma T20 century?
New Zealand pitches also offer a lot of pace and swing for the quicks, and that was evident in the ODI series too, with plenty of early dismissals. Here’s where India may lack slightly, with a lesser experienced bowling line up. They will end up relying very heavily on their spin twins, Kuldeep and Chahal. Bhuveshwar Kumar will lead the attack and India will choose a second pacer from between Khaleel Ahmed and Siddarth Kaul.
Tim Southee will be one to watch in this series, given he has been good at this venue, with 8 wickets in 4 previous games here. Trent Boult is rested for this series which means Lockie Ferguson may play this 1st T20I. That’s it for pace while the spin department will be taken care of by Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi.
The Kiwi opener had a poor ODI series. However, we’re come to his favourite format of the game and he is also the leading individual run scorer here in Wellington. With 8 games and 3 T20I fifties at this ground, it will be interesting to see how he goes here. He would definitely be in my fantasy team, but we are waiting on a fitness confirmation as he missed the 5th ODI with a back injury. Henry Nicholls would be a handy replacement.
His opening partner Colin Munro also displayed mediocre form in the ODIs but he is most destructive in the 20 over format. If the Indian pacers don’t get it right in the early overs, Munro will definitely make them pay. With Kane Williamson slotted in at #3, the Kiwi batting attack looks pretty strong, and I would skip Ross Taylor for the T20s, as he would be batting down at #4 or #5, and is known to be a slow starter.
In the New Zealand batting order, Tim Seifert will be replacing Tom Latham and I’m not too sure if that was the best idea from the Blackcaps as Latham has been in marvellous form. As for India, MS Dhoni will be key behind the stumps but I have a strong feeling Rishabh Pant will get a promotion in the batting order, just to set the tempo at the start of the innings. Pant is my pick for this game.
My fantasy eleven
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