Refreshed India look at future
India named a fairly new-look T20I squad for the New Zealand series with several frontline players taking a rest following back-to-back bio bubbles. There’s no such luxury for New Zealand, finalists and runners up at the T20 World Cup, on Sunday night. Three days later, a large chunk of them will take the field in the first T20I against India.
On paper, India are the stronger T20I side despite the absence of stars and New Zealand’s surge to the finals of the T20 World Cup. India lost two crunch matches, one of them against New Zealand themselves, in the tournament, to be chucked out after the group stage, but they have the deepest talent pool in the cricketing world and will be a tough side to beat at home.
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India have the edge in recent record
Despite the loss in the T20 World Cup game, India are the better T20I side, especially at home. This is backed by their recent record against the Kiwis which involve a 5-0 series win in New Zealand in 2020.
New Zealand have a special bowling lineup in this format and it remains the biggest threat for India, who are without some of their superstar players. However, equally, the Kiwis are also untested against some of India’s rising IPL stars who are in this squad.
Match 1: Betting tips
India return rested and refreshed and are back in home conditions where they are most comfortable. With no additional pressure from an ICC tournament, India have odds of 1.56 to beat New Zealand.
The Blackcaps might be coming off the back of a stunning T20 World Cup campaign, but were helped by some clutch moments that individual performers grabbed or lack of strength of the opposing teams. Against India, in their backyard, New Zealand will find it tough. You can back NZ at 2.40 to win the first T20I.
Players to watch out for…
Ruturaj Gaikwad: He topped the run charts in IPL 2021 and is a terrific opener with a penchant for batting deep into the innings and accelerating as he goes along. India will want to test their talent pool this series, with Rahul Dravid the new head coach taking charge, and Gaikwad will likely get all three games.
Venkatesh Iyer: India so badly want the Kolkata Knight Riders all-rounder to make it big that he has been drafted into the squad on the back of just half a good IPL season. The top-order batter, who can also bowl pace, will likely play a Hardik Pandya role in the lower middle-order.
Todd Astle: The leg-spinner didn’t get to play in the T20 World Cup, but might get a go here with the main spinners likely to be rotated. Astle is an experienced spinner from the New Zealand domestic circuit and should be a genuine threat in the middle overs.
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