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India vs New Zealand 2021-22, 1st T20I: Can 'Men in Blue' draw first blood or 'Kiwis' have the opening laugh?

India and New Zealand will be locking horns in a three-match T20I series, with the opening game in Jaipur on Wednesday. With both teams looking to draw first blood, we present the match preview of this tie.

India vs New Zealand 2021-22, IND vs NZ, 1st T20I Preview: Players to watch, head-to-head, weather, pitch, probable, fantasy XI, live streaming-ayh
Jaipur, First Published Nov 17, 2021, 6:30 AM IST
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After gruelling yet unsuccessful commitments in the ICC T20 World Cup 2021, India and New Zealand are back to bilateral commitments within a couple of days since the conclusion of the global event. On Wednesday, the two sides clash in the first of the three-match Twenty20 International (T20I) series at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur. In what promises to be a thrilling tie, we present the match preview.

Current form
India is coming off an unpleasant outing in the T20WC, losing to arch-rival Pakistan and New Zealand, thus getting knocked out of the Super 12 stage, despite winning its remaining three matches against minnows. On the other hand, the Kiwis had a better outing comparatively, losing just a game in the Super 12 to Pakistan, and ended up as the runner-up to first-time champion Australia. Thus, the momentum is clearly with the visitors. But, the host advantage may play in favour of the Men in Blue.

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Team strength & weaknesses, and players to watch out
India has an evenly poised side, while it is tide heavy on its batting. However, its bowling is not to be taken lightly at any cost, consisting of a talented young lot. While new T20I skipper Rohit Sharma would lead the side, Suryakumar Yadav, Venkatesh Iyer, KL Rahul, Ishan Kishan, Deepak Chahar, Harshal Patel, and Yuzvendra Chahal would be the ones to watch out.

As for New Zealand, it is loaded in its bowling department. Although its batting lacks star power, it has a packed all-rounder department that can take the fight to the Indians. The likes of Martin Guptill, Trent Boult, Lockie Ferguson, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi and Kyle Jamieson are looking to make an impact.

Injury concerns and head-to-head
Although none of the sides has any injury concerns ahead of the tournament, NZ would be without skipper Kane Williamson, who has opted to rest, while Tim Southee would lead. Also, pacer Lockie Ferguson's fitness would be monitored before taking the selection call on him. The two sides have played each other in the format on 17 occasions, with NZ leading 9-6, while in India, NZ has a slender lead of 3-2 in five matches. It would be the maiden T20I at this venue.

ALSO READ: India vs New Zealand 2021-22 - Big shoes to fill for Tim Southee as Kane Williamson opts out of T20Is

Weather and pitch report
The Jaipur weather would be cold, with 18-20 degrees of expected temperature in the evening. The pitch here is expected to be a flat deck, with a run-fest on the cards. Also, with the dew settling in from as early as 7 PM, toss would hardly have any implications here. Still, the side winning the toss would prefer chasing.

Probable XI
Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Axar Patel, Rishabh Pant (wk), Deepak Chahar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ravichandran Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal and Harshal Patel.
NZ: Martin Guptill, Daryl Mitchell, Tim Seifert, Glenn Phillips (wk), Mark Chapman, Mitchell Santner, James Neesham, Tim Southee (c), Lockie Ferguson/Adam Milne, Ish Sodhi and Trent Boult.

ALSO READ: India vs New Zealand 2021-22 - Can the rattled 'Men in Blue' match up against the mighty Kiwis in T20Is?

Fantasy XI
Rohit (vc), Guptill, Rahul (c), Gaikwad - Rohit and Guptill would give the perfect start, along with Rahul at number three, while Gaikwad can consolidate at number four. While Rahul's consistency makes him the skipper, Rohit's reliability makes him his deputy.
Wicketkeeper: Pant - Although all the keepers are in form, Pant's effectiveness allows him to make the cut.
All-rounders: Neesham, Mitchell - While Neesham has been effective with the ball, Mitchell has impacted with his batting skills of late.
Bowlers: Chahal, Boult, Harshal, Sodhi - Chahal and Sodhi are sure to trouble the batters with their quirky spins, as has been the case with them of late, while the fantastic form of Boult and Harshal makes them top contenders to fire with their pace.

Match details
Date and day:
November 17, 2021 (Wednesday)
Venue: Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur
Time: 7 PM (IST)
Where to watch (TV): Star Sports 1 and Star Sports 1 Hindi (Also available in HD, along with regional languages)
Where to watch (Online): Hotstar

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