The stage is set for the first match of the T20I series between India and New Zealand with no crowd restrictions at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur. The hosts were beaten by the visiting side in the recently concluded T20 World Cup and that defeat will be fresh on their minds.
The Indian team that will take on the Black Caps, however, will have a lot of changes. Rohit Sharma has taken over as captain of the T20 side and Rahul Dravid is now the head coach. Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah and Ravindra Jadeja are rested.
Along with this several new players, including pace bowler Avesh Khan and all-rounder Venkatesh Iyer, who had a good IPL season, can get a chance to play for India for the first time. Local boy Deepak Chahar could be in the mix too.
Avesh is a young fast bowler who played for Delhi Capitals in the IPL, while Iyer made his debut in the league this year from KKR. Both have shown exceptional abilities for their respective teams.
KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma are likely to open as both have been doing well for India for a long time.
Rohit Sharma (c), Ishan Kishan, KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), R Ashwin, Axar Patel, Mohammed Siraj, Deepak Chahar, Yuzvendra Chahal.
For the New Zealand side, this will be their first competitive match after losing to Australia in the finals of the T20 world cup a few days back. However, the going will be not easy for the visitors. Not only are they coming from the UAE exhausted, but they will also have to find replacements for some key players.
Also read: Rohit Sharma named new India T20 cricket captain; here's how ex-cricketers and fans reacted
Charismatic skipper and batter Kane Williamson has decided to take a break and will skip the T20I series like Kohli. Injury-hit pacer, Lockie Ferguson too will be missing in action.
For the replacement skipper Tim Southee, the challenge will be to find a playing XI that could negate these absences. There will also be concerns regarding the famed spin duo of Santner and Sodhi given their struggles against the left-hander batters and the presence of Kishan and Pant in the Indian middle order.
Probable XI: Daryl Mitchell, Martin Guptill, Mark Chapman, Glenn Phillips, Tim Seifert (wk), James Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Lockie Ferguson, Tim Southee (c), Ish Sodhi, Trent Boult.
What to expect from the venue
The Sawai Mansingh Stadium, with a capacity of 25,000, is hosting an international game after eight years and hence there is a lot of excitement around the match. The game will be played in front of a packed house as the organisers have allowed 100 percent crowd for the first time in a cricket stadium during the pandemic.
The pitch at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium has traditionally been batting-friendly, and with the dew factor coming in, pacers will have more responsibility to deliver for their respective teams.
According to experts, if the team batting first puts up a good score on the board, they have a chance of winning. Otherwise, bowling in the second half will be difficult, with the dew factor coming into play.
A total of 47 T20 matches have been played at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium during the IPL. The last time Jaipur hosted an international match was against Australia in 2013, where, batting first, Australia had posted a mammoth 359. The Indian team won the ODI, achieving the target in 43.3 overs, defeating the tourists by nine wickets.
Head-to-Head in last five T20Is:
India has won six of the last 15 T20 matches against New Zealand while the latter has triumphed in the remaining nine including the fatal crash in the T20 World Cup.
Betting odds: (Click here for more betting odds)
New Zealand: 11/5
-with agency inputs
(Edited by : Abhishek Jha)
First Published: IST