NAGPUR New Zealand are bracing for a trial by spin when they open their World Twenty20 campaign against hosts India on Tuesday, skipper Kane Williamson said on the eve of their Super 10 fixture.
The Indian team have been widely touted as firm favourites to win the biennial event due to their knowledge about the conditions at home and a strong run of form in the buildup to the tournament.
New Zealand, though, have defeated India in all their previous four meetings in the shortest format of the game but their progress was somewhat thwarted against England's spinners on Saturday in their warm-up match.
"We certainly are expecting spin to pay a big part in this tournament," Williamson told reporters on Monday, adding their past record against India would have no bearing on the match.
"I suppose judging by the warm-up games in Mumbai, they had a bit for the seamers and it swung a little bit.
"They were very good surfaces but from what cricket we have seen here in Nagpur, spin looks likely to play a big part. It's important that we adjust our gameplan accordingly."
Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin will lead India's slow bowling attack along with Ravindra Jadeja while part-timer Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina are also expected to chip in.
New Zealand arrived at the tournament after a preparatory camp in Dubai, having played a two-test home series against Australia, during which former captain Brendon McCullum retired from international cricket.
Williamson was confident there would not be any problems making the switch to the 20-over format.
"We go into the match tomorrow with a clean slate. India is a strong side and Twenty20 cricket is fickle in nature," Williamson said.
India, who won the 50-over World Cup at home in 2011, defeated Australia and Sri Lanka in bilateral series before winning the Asia Cup in Bangladesh, a run that saw them win 10 of their last 11 T20 matches.
Batting stalwart Virat Kohli was confident the team can handle the burden of expectations.
"At home we expect that, we're prepared for that," Kohli said. "The skill required is how you manage yourself off the field, because on the field is probably the safest and quietest for you, especially in your home country.
"The field is where you face the least pressure in big tournaments like this.
"We're taking some good momentum into the World Cup. The Asia Cup was a good preparation for us, getting a feel of playing against big teams. This is far more challenging, with teams from all over the world."
(Writing by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Pritha Sarkar)
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