India will be playing a five-match T20I series for the first time ever while New Zealand will be without their premier pacers in Trent Boult, Lockie Ferguson and Matt Henry due to injuries.
New Zealand will be aware of the form of their batsmen coming into the series. On the other hand, India will try to settle with a combination early in the series. It will be intriguing to see whether Pant will get a go or not and which all-rounders and spinners will get a chance.
Overall, it will provide an opportunity to both the teams to test their bench strengths out before the T20 World Cup begins later this year.
India have had some tough time against New Zealand in the past in the T20Is. Let’s look at the history of the two sides in the shortest format with the help of statistics and facts:
New Zealand is the only country in which India have conceded more than nine runs per over so far in T20Is. Their average of 35.68 in New Zealand in T20Is is the worst for them in any country in the shortest format of the game.
India’s bowling average of 32.53 and strike rate of 22.9 respectively against New Zealand in T20Is, are also the highest as compared to all other opponents. No Indian bowler has ever taken a four wicket-haul or a five wicket-haul against New Zealand in T20Is.
New Zealand are the only team against which India have lost (8) more matches than they have won (3) actually in T20Is. India have played four bilateral T20I series against New Zealand and lost three of them.
New Zealand is the only country in which India’s batting average is less than 25 in T20Is. It has happened only thrice in New Zealand when an Indian batsman scored 50-plus runs in a T20I match. India’s batting average of 22.59 against New Zealand in T20Is is the lowest for them among all the nations.
Moreover, Virat Kohli will be playing a T20I match in New Zealand for the first time ever and Rohit Sharma’s batting average of 24.00 in New Zealand in T20Is is the second worst for him in any country in the format therefore if India are to make a mark in the series then their star batsmen need to up the ante right from the beginning.
India have lost 30 wickets to New Zealand’s spinners in T20Is – the most that they have lost against any country’s spinners.
If Indian players can hold on to their nerves then they can win their eighth consecutive international bilateral series as there is so much to look forward to, between the fifth (India) and the sixth (New Zealand) ranked sides currently in the world in T20Is.
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Shastri highlighted the adjustments Pant had to make in his batting when he was playing alongside Rohit Sharma as the two forged a partnership.
Rohit, who hit a dazzling 161 in the second Test in Chennai, said he hardly bothers about type of pitches while batting.
India trounced England by an innings and 25 runs when at one stage the hosts were 121 for five but ended up taking a 160-run lead which proved to be match-winning.