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ICC T20 WC 2021 - Question marks hover around India’s Starting XI ahead of game against New Zealand

India will clash heads with New Zealand in their second match of the Super 12 round at Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Sunday evening.

ICC T20 WC 2021 - Super 12 - IND vs NZ Preview - India, New Zealand in search of their first win of the tournament.
Must-win game for India and New Zealand to keep their campaigns alive (©BCCI/Twitter)

The cat has been set amongst the pigeons with India’s loss against Pakistan by a huge margin of 10 wickets in the first group match of the host nation in the ICC T20 World Cup 2021. New Zealand was also defeated by Pakistan by five wickets but it was the huge loss of India against their arch-rivals that paved the way for a huge uproar in India. Cricket fans and cricket pundits threw scathing criticism on Indian players and team management after the loss against Pakistan.

As India is gearing for their second match in the World Cup after the humiliating loss against Pakistan, Indian fans are all hand in glove with each other in their criticism of their national team and are looking towards this game against New Zealand with high expectations from the Men in Blue. So, there are many talks of making changes in the eleven so India can defeat the Kiwi team on Sunday.

Many former cricketers and cricket pundits advised Indian team management to make relevant changes in the eleven. Cricketers like Hardik Pandya, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Shami and Varun Chakravarthy and their performance in recent games were widely discussed in the cricket fraternity. Let’s take a look at the possible team combination for India in the upcoming match.

Rahul, Rohit likely to be retained for the top spot

Indian will likely retain Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul as openers while skipper Virat Kohli will play at one down.

Mumbai veteran, Suryakumar Yadav will lead the Indian middle-order at number four. Rishabh Pant will likely keep wickets for India and will bat at five.

Hardik Pandya – To be or not to be is the question

Hardik Pandya has been the talk of the town for the last two weeks due to his inability to bowl after his back injury. Pandya was a key pace bowling all-rounder of India before his injury. As India have a dearth of pace bowling all-rounders, Pandya was a very special player for India, especially in T20 cricket. However, he couldn't bowl his quota of overs in recent IPL games.

Also, his batting form is not up to the mark in recent times. So, there are talks of dropping him from the eleven for the upcoming match against the Kiwis. Explosive wicketkeeper-batter Ishan Kishan is in very good form. He recently struck an unbeaten knock of 70 runs against the English team in a practice game ahead of the World Cup. So, Kishan can be an option in place of Pandya in the lower middle-order due to his explosive batting if Pandya is unable to bowl in the upcoming match as well. However, Kohli confirmed that they will back Pandya and he is likely to bowl against the Kiwis.

Shardul Thakur is another player who can be a match-winner on his day. He has a knack of taking wickets against the run of play and he can smash some runs in death overs too. He had a splendid second-half in IPL 2021, where he bagged 16 wickets in just 9 games. He can also replace Hardik Pandya in the eleven.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar – Past his prime?

Indian pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar made it to the World Cup squad due to his experience and swing bowling ability with the new ball, however, he looked out of form in the whole second-half of IPL. He could scalp only three wickets in six games of this phase of IPL which was played in UAE where the World Cup is being staged this year.

Also, he went wicketless in the encounter against Pakistan after bowling three overs. Shardul Thakur can also play in place of Bhuvneshwar if not in place of Pandya.

Mystery spinner Varun Chakravarty was called the key weapon of India’s spin arsenal, however, his failure against Pakistan has posed tough questions for the Indian team management. With spinners like the experienced Ravichandran Ashwin and promising leggie Rahul Chahar sitting out of the starting eleven, there is added pressure on Varun to prove himself on the world stage. The Indian team is likely to give another opportunity to Varun in this upcoming game against the Kiwis.

India’s all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja also couldn't take any wicket in the last match against Pakistan nor he could make many runs. If India trusts the batting ability of their top six batters, they can play a specialist spinner in place of Jadeja.

India Probable XI - Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli (c), Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wk), Hardik Pandya/Ishan Kishan, Ravindra Jadeja, Varun Chakravarthy, Shardul Thakur/Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah

New Zealand will hope for a strong batting performance

New Zealand batting succumbed in front of Pakistan pacers, so they will focus on improving their batting in this game. Left-arm pacer Trent Boult will be the key weapon of the Kiwi team against India’s top-order who struggle against left-arm pace bowling.

New Zealand are likely to field the same eleven from the previous game against Pakistan. Opener Martin Guptill sustained an injury in the last game but he is fit for this encounter against India.

New Zealand Probable XI - Martin Guptill, Daryl Mitchell, Kane Williamson (c), James Neesham, Devon Conway, Glenn Phillips, Tim Seifert (wk), Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee/Adam Milne, Trent Boult

Time: India vs New Zealand, Super 12, Group 2, October 31, 19:30 IST Venue: Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai

H2H - India and New Zealand both have won the same number of T20I matches against each other (8), however, India faced Kiwis only twice in T20 World Cup and the Kiwis have defeated India in both encounters.


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