India are up against New Zealand in their second match of the ICC T20 World Cup.

India will take on New Zealand in their second Super 12 encounter of the T20 World Cup 2021 in Dubai on Sunday, October 31. India got off to a forgettable start in their World Cup campaign, as they were thumped by Pakistan by 10 wickets. On the other hand, the Kiwis also went down to the same opponents. Pakistan’s victory in their first two matches makes India vs New Zealand extremely crucial. With Pakistan having one foot in the semi-final, it could come down to India and New Zealand for the second semis spot. Ahead of the India-New Zealand clash, here are four-player battles to watch out for.

  1. Rohit Sharma vs Trent Boult
Rohit Sharma’s troubles against left-arm pacers came to the fore again against Pakistan.

Rohit Sharma’s troubles against left-arm pacers came to the fore again against Pakistan. He got a brilliant delivery from Shaheen Shah Afridi no doubt but it is also a fact that Rohit was caught off-guard. And, it isn’t a one-off. Earlier, Mohammad Amir also troubled him a lot. In the 2017 Champions Trophy final, it was Amir who set the tone for Pakistan by sending back Rohit cheaply. India could not make a comeback in the match and lost the game without much of a fight.

Rohit struggles when the left-arm seamer from over the wicket gets the ball to dart back into him. This is something Trent Boult will try to do against him in the match on Sunday. Boult is very much capable of getting the ball to move back in. Rohit will thus need to be careful against his MI teammate. At the same time, he will need to ensure that he scores runs quickly as well.

2. Jasprit Bumrah vs Martin Guptill

If he can get his yorkers and bouncers right, he could pose trouble for Guptill.

New Zealand opener Martin Guptill is one of the most destructive opening batters in the T20 format. If he gets going, he can destroy any attack in the world. Guptill has all the strokes in the book to trouble opposition bowlers. Against Pakistan as well, he was looking in decent nick until he perished to Haris Rauf. Guptill will thus be keen to make amends against India.

While Guptill is an attacking stroke-maker, the extreme pace is something that can put off the best. In the match versus Pakistan, Rauf got one to thud into the New Zealand opener’s thigh pad and the ball ricocheted onto the stumps. Jasprit Bumrah is someone who can produce that extreme pace for India. If he can get his yorkers and bouncers right, he could pose trouble for Guptill.

3. Virat Kohli vs Ish Sodhi

He tasted success against the same opponents when New Zealand faced India in the 2016 T20 World Cup encounter.

Even as Indian batters struggled against Pakistan, captain Virat Kohli batted with patience to compile a half-century. It was a well-crafted innings under pressure. Even though India went on to lose the game, Kohli would have gained some confidence from the innings. He must now carry it forward into the clash against New Zealand. With it being more or less a do-or-die affair, Kohli will need to stand up to the challenge again.

Leg-spin is something that has troubled Kohli in recent times. Be it Adam Zampa or Adil Rashid, Kohli has had his issues against the ball turning away from him. This is why Ish Sodhi will have a big role to play in the match against India. He tasted success against the same opponents when New Zealand faced India in the 2016 T20 World Cup encounter. Can he do it again?

4. Kane Williamson vs Ravindra Jadeja

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson is fluent against both pace and spin.

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson is fluent against both pace and spin. With the team under pressure, he will be expected to deliver the goods. If he gets going early on, he can end up scoring at quite a quick pace and put India under pressure. India will have to ensure that he doesn’t get away.

Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja is someone who can stop the flow of runs. If he can keep Williamson under check, New Zealand’s middle-order can be put under pressure. In the middle overs, the contest between Williamson and Jadeja could thus be key.

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