The biggest tournament in world cricket in its shortest format is back this year in India. The hosts were drawn in a relatively tough group alongside Australia, New Zealand, and nemesis Pakistan and will have to start the tournament on a strong note if they are fulfilling their dream of lifting the cup at the end of the tournament.
India will kick off the event on Wednesday when they face the Black Caps in a scintillating game between two equal teams. There is plenty of quality to look forward to in both camps with India going in as favorites to get the better of New Zealand with the current form they are in.
There have been a number of top class performers for India even in the shortest format and New Zealand have their own set of game-changing players participating in this tournament. Here are three key battles to look out for when these evenly matches teams take on each other at the VCA stadium in Nagpur:
- Rohit Sharma vs Tim Southee:
The Indian opener has been in sublime form and has been scoring runs for fun in the shorter format of the game. He is a devastating player who, when settled can take the game away from the opponents. But over the years, he has developed a weakness around his off-stump, something that many bowlers in the past have taken advantage of. New Zealand’s quickie, Tim Southee is a great exponent of the new ball and will surely test the Mumbai Indians’ captain near his off stump. If Sharma can get through the moving new ball, he may well take Indian to victory without much fuzz. This will be the most intriguing battle on the night at Nagpur.
- Virat Kohli vs Trent Boult:
After the retirement of Sachin Tendulkar, India as a nation have found their next addiction in Virat Kohli. The Delhi-born batsman looks so much at ease playing any kind of bowling and opposition and is the backbone of this Indian batting line-up. He has the ability to score quickly and also sensibly and has the best average for a batsman in successful chases. He will, however, be up against a marauding Trent Boult who showed his devastating talent in the recently concluded series against Australia. He will surely be trying his best to get Kohli out early and if the Indian star gets stuck into his bowling, it can be a long night for the Black Caps.
- Jaspreet Bumrah vs Martin Guptill:
The incredible story of the Indian pacer Jaspreet Bumrah continues into the T20 World Cup where he will lead the bowling line-up for his country. Bumrah showcased his talent in Australia and then performed superbly in the Asia Cup to get into the T20 squad and is now the breakthrough bowler at both the start and the end of the innings. Martin Guptill, arguably the most in-form batsman in this New Zealand batting line-up will have to be careful to not give away his wicket early in the game and it will be important for him to get used to playing the unorthodoxy of Bumrah. However, if the Indian quickie can get the ball to nip off the track and trouble Guptill, India will surely be on the front foot right from the start.