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

India and New Zealand are set to battle it out in a three-match T20I series from Wednesday. With an unsuccessful outing by both sides in the 2021 ICC T20 World Cup, they would look to clinch this series emphatically.

India vs New Zealand 2021-22 (Series Preview): Can the rattled 'Men in Blue' match up against the mighty Kiwis in T20Is?-ayh
Kolkata, First Published Nov 16, 2021, 6:30 AM IST

It was an unsuccessful outing for India and New Zealand in the just-concluded ICC T20 World Cup. While India was knocked out in the Super 12 stage, New Zealand did comparatively better, finishing as the runner-up to Australia. Amidst the pain and sorrow of no ICC silverware, both teams clash against each other in a three-match T20I series in India, starting Wednesday.

While NZ is a formidable side and could sporing in a surprise, India will be the home team and desperate to make amends to the wrongs it did at the global event. However, the prolonged exposure to the Asian conditions has made the Kiwis strong enough and a formidable challenge for the Indians. Here is what we can expect from both sides.

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Team composition
As far as India is concerned, it would be moving in with a nearly-evenly balanced side. With ten batters and nine bowlers, India would be looking to score runs. Also, the Indian batters will go on a run-fest with the tracks expected to be falt ones. Meanwhile, its bowling would be lethal as usual. With the top bowlers retaining their spots from the T20WC, some new faces are also expected to impact.

On the other hand, New Zealand is heavily loaded in its bowling department, 10-9 to be precise. Although its bowling now has the great tendency to rattle any batting order in any playing condition, its batting kist not be taken lightly at any cost. Also, with a packed all-rounder department, it makes the Kiwis side equally steady and dangerous too.

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Strengths and weaknesses
Starting with India, its strength would be its batting, led by new skipper Rohit Sharma, along with Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Venkatesh Iyer, KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant and Ishan Kishan. However, it does not mean India has a weak bowling attack. While seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar would lead it, Deepak Chahar, Mohammed Siraj, Harshal Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal would play heavy roles.

As for the Kiwis, there is no doubt that their bowling is their ultimate strength right now. Pacer Trent Boult would head the department along with Lockie Ferguson, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi and Kyle Jamieson. Although its batting has just a specialist, in the form of Martin Guptill, as skipper Kane Williamson has opted out, its packed all-rounder department could spell trouble for India.

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Players to watch out
KL Rahul:
The wicketkeeper-opener has been in a severe form in the shortest format. Although he was somewhat shaky during the global event, returning to India might give him the freedom to play his strokes more freely. Being the vice-captain also gives him an extra responsibility with the bat.

Venkatesh Iyer: The young opening all-rounder lit up Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the 2021 Indian Premier League (IPL). His consistent performance and ability to utilise the Powerplay to the fullest have earned him a quick call-up to the Indian circuit.

Daryl Mitchell: The wicketkeeper-batter has been doing a great job as an opener for the Kiwis of late, playing a focal role in the side's journey to the T20WC final. Fans would be expecting him to continue the same dominance. However, playing in India for the first time might make him a bit cautious.

Ish Sodhi: The spinner gave quite some trouble to the Indian batters at the global event. Also, with the Indian tracks assisting spinners, he could be the man who can turn things around for the Kiwis.

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Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul (vc & wk), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk), Venkatesh Iyer, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Avesh Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Harshal Patel and Mohammed Siraj.
New Zealand: Todd Astle, Trent Boult, Mark Chapman, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Kyle Jamieson, Adam Milne, Daryl Mitchell, Jimmy Neesham, Glenn Phillips (wk), Mitchell Santner, Tim Seifert (wk), Ish Sodhi and Tim Southee (c).

1st T20I: November 17 (Jaipur)
2nd T20I: November 19 (Ranchi)
3rd T20I: November 21 (Kolkata)

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