The hosts might seem vulnerable at the moment due to the heavy loss of 4-1 in the recently concluded ODI series against India, but the story ain’t the same in T20Is. New Zealand have a lot of positives in the T20I front.
Colin Munro might not have been successful in the ODI series for New Zealand but the batting all-rounder amassed 500 runs at an impressive strike rate of almost 180 in T20Is last year. Besides, there are some surprises in store from both teams. The three-match T20I series starts on February 6.
Here are some players to watch out for in the upcoming T20I series:
Due to Martin Guptill’s unavailability, Jimmy Neesham was incorporated into the New Zealand T20I squad for the series against India. His presence in the lower order has been helpful for the Kiwis during the ODI series. The T20I is well anticipated to witness Neesham’s spark. His 32-ball 44 in the final ODI in Wellington added to his decent role as a seamer was quite impressive even though New Zealand lost.
Also Read: Predicted XI for the first T20
With Trent Boult being rested, New Zealand was open to some newness. The bowling all-rounder from Hamilton, Scott Kuggeleijn, has all the experience in the shortest format of the game. He is new to International Cricket but his expertise has been showcased in the Super Smash Twenty20 league. Kuggeleign has taken 14 wickets and scored 59 runs in T20s during the ongoing New Zealand domestic season.
After Virat Kohli was rested for the rest of the New Zealand tour, the 19-year-old Shubhman was incorporated into the Indian squad. He scored just nine and seven in his two ODI appearances. The Indian coach, Ravi Shastri has backed the youngster who is full of talent. With no one else likely to take the 3rd spot, India might play Gill at one down. His enthusiasm in playing shots have proven hard during the ODIs but if he settles down, he might turn out to be the perfect hitter for the visiting side.
India’s much-celebrated chinaman spinner, Kuldeep Yadav was enormously successful in the ODI series against New Zealand. His grip over the conditions and puzzling the batsmen has been on point. He was dropped in the last ODI given to his unproductive performances in the 3rd and 4th ODI. Nonetheless, he took two consecutive four-wicket hauls in the first two ODIs; an Indian record.
The captain of the New Zealand team might open the batting alongside Colin Munro in the absence of Guptill. Williamson has opened the batting in 27 out of his 54 T20I appearances, averaging 38.52 in that position as opposed to an overall average of 31.64. In those 27 games, The Blackcaps have emerged victorious 17 times. Over the last 10 T20I innings, he has managed to keep his average over 32.
Southee sat out of the team in the last ODI as he wasn’t prolific in the series. His form is a concern in ODIs since the 2015 World Cup. But he is a successful bowler in the shortest format. An added advantage is his success record of eight wickets at 13.77 in T20Is at the Westpac Stadium, Wellington- the venue to the first T20I.