India will face New Zealand in the first T20I of the three-match series at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur on Wednesday, November 17. India will have a new captain and vice-captain in the 20-over format with Virat Kohli having stepped down from the leadership role in the version. Rohit Sharma will be India’s new T20 captain and KL Rahul the vice-captain in the format. India will look to start on a fresh note following their disastrous T20 World Cup campaign. New Zealand, on the other hand, will miss the services of Kane Williamson. Pacer Tim Southee has been named the captain for the T20 series. Here are five player battles to watch out for in the first match.
- Rohit Sharma vs Trent Boult
Rohit Sharma has had his issues with left-arm pace bowling. While Mohammad Amir troubled him earlier, Shaheen Afridi caught him off-guard with an unplayable yorker in the T20 World Cup clash against Pakistan. Rohit did not open the innings against New Zealand in the next World Cup game, coming in at No.3. Critics saw it as a negative move to shield Rohit against Trent Boult. The Kiwi left-arm pacer’s Mumbai Indians (MI) captain will thus be keen to prove a point when the two come face to face in Jaipur on Wednesday.
2. KL Rahul vs Tim Southee
KL Rahul will be as crucial to India’s fortunes as Rohit. The new T20 vice-captain, like Rohit, did not have a great start to his T20 World Cup campaign. By the time he found his groove, it was too late. As India look to change their batting template, Rahul will be one of the players at the forefront. He will have to take on the challenge from pacer and stand-in captain Tim Southee. The Kiwi bowler was hugely impressive in the T20 World Cup, keeping the runs down and frustrating opponents until David Warner took him on in the final.
3. Martin Guptill vs Mohammed Siraj
Veteran New Zealand opener Martin Guptill put up a horror batting display in the T20 World Cup final. Expected to get the team off to a flying start, he got stuck and put the side in big trouble, scoring 28 in 35 balls. Apart from an innings of 93, Guptill did not look in great touch in the ICC event. He will be looking to get back among the runs. Guptill will be challenged by Mohammed Siraj at the start of the innings. With no Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami, the responsibility of striking early will lie with Siraj. Can he get the better of Guptill early?
4. Rishabh Pant vs Ish Sodhi
In the middle and end overs, the Rishabh Pant vs Ish Sodhi battle will be key. Pant tried his best in the T20 World Cup. He played a fighting knock against Pakistan but failed to find his timing against New Zealand. Pant played a smart cameo against Afghanistan, getting some quick runs. He will be up against Sodhi, who had a memorable T20 World Cup barring the final, in which he was taken apart by Australia. The challenge for Sodhi will be that he would be spinning the ball into Pant. He can look to outwit the left-hander with the googly though.
5. Glenn Phillips vs Yuzvendra Chahal
Glenn Phillips has played some handsome knocks in domestic and franchise cricket. However, he is yet to replicate the success at the international level consistently. Phillips has one hundred and two fifties from 32 T20I matches. He looked good in the T20 World Cup and played some impressive strokes but the prominent knock was missing. Batting in the middle-order, he will be up against the guile of Yuzvendra Chahal. The leggie makes a comeback after being dropped for the T20 World Cup. Phillips will be challenged by Chahal, who will spin the ball away from him and bring his variations into play as well.