Monday, March 14, 2016

Favourites India take on Dark Horse New Zealand in the Opening Encounter of the ICC WT20 2016

Group 2: India Vs New Zealand, #WT20 2016 at Nagpur - Match Preview

The qualifiers are done and dusted with (Afghanistan and Bangladesh have qualified) and now the main show of the ICC WT20 2016 can begin in all earnestness. Hosts and favourites, India will lock horns with the Kiwi team tomorrow at Nagpur to kick things off in this much anticipated mega event.

India are strong favourites for this WT20 having looked almost invincible lately - defeating Australia 3-0 in Australia, blanking Sri Lanka 2-1 in India before storming home to lift the Asia Cup convincingly. New Zealand have also won their last two T20I series and will pose a huge challenge to the Indian team first up.

Brendon McCullum might have retired but the Black Caps still possess a well rounded team filled with several explosive players like Guptill, Anderson and Munro. Williamson is probably the best batsmen currently going around and with Ross Taylor also coming back their batting looks solid and intimidating. The addition of Mitch Santner has added a penetrative look to their spin department, with him providing them with a left arm spin option too.

The Indian bowling has been humming noiselessly and has been a huge contributing factor in their recent success story. Nehra and Bumrah have almost always provided the early breakthrough along with keeping the opposition batting in check. R Ashwin has been at his deceptive best and he has been ably supported by Jadeja and Pandya. Dhoni also has the services of Yuvraj, Raina and Rohit if one of the main bowlers have a day off!

The Kiwi bowling might be more suited to seaming conditions but they cannot be taken lightly as the new white ball might swing and seam under lights. Boult and Southee are terrific exponents of the moving ball and with one of Milne and McClenaghan providing fiery back up, the Indian batting will have to be wary of them. They also have the canny Anderson and Elliott who are adept at taking the pace of the ball. Santner, Sodhi and Nathan McCullum provide the spin options for Williamson.

The Indian to order has been in scintillating form with Dhawan, Rohit and Kohli all being amongst the runs recently. Yuvraj, Raina and Dhoni might not have had long stints out in the middle but they have looked accomplished whenever they have had a chance for a hit in the middle. This is a fearsome batting line up, more so considering the form that they are in and the Kiwi bowlers will have their hands full trying to contain India's batsmen.

With the Nagpur pitch affording significant turn during the qualifying matches it remains to be seen what kind of a surface is prepared for the main rounds. If it is as slow and turning as it was during the last week then New Zealand can be in for a difficult first game. I hope it's a good pitch and we get a close game worthy of a big multi nation opening encounter.

Key Battles to Look out for:

Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan Vs Trent Boult and Tim Southee

Virat Kohli Vs Mitch Santner

Corey Anderson Vs R Jadeja

Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor Vs R Ashwin


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Vinay Leo R. said...

Alas. Kiwi bowlers contained the batsmen amicably :P