New Delhi: After a brilliant performance in the One Day Internationals (ODIs), India will aim for a maiden win against the New Zealand when they take on the visitors in the first Twenty20 International on Wednesday.
The three-match T20 series will also witness some promising players taking the field and veteran pacer Ashish Nehra signing off with the first match at his home ground.
Seeing the recent performances, many cricket pundits may have put their money on the Indian team, but World No. 1 New Zealand could also turn the tables with their perfect record against the hosts.
The two teams have faced off twice in New Zealand, twice in India and once in South Africa and New Zealand have won all the five matches.
There are several match-winners in the New Zealand squad. Apart from skipper Kane Williamson, Martin Guptill, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls have the ability to change the game at any time.
Experienced batsman Ross Taylor was also recalled to the New Zealand set-up in place of injured legs-pinner Todd Astle, which will give a boost to their batting department.
The bowlers have also shown their class in the ODI series. Experienced pacer Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme will be the key in the shortest format.
Spinners Ish Sodhi, Adam Milne could add much more to their bowling line-up on the slow Feroz Shah Kotla pitch here if they bowl on the right areas.
India, on the other hand, have ticked many boxes in the ODI series. But they would like to improve the performance in both the departments.
Youngsters like Shreyas Iyer, Lokesh Rahul and pacer Mohammad Siraj would want to make their mark and other batsmen like Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik would like to continue their momentum in order to register their maiden T20 win.
In the bowling department, Ashish Nehra will play a crucial role in the first match if Virat Kohli includes him in the squad.
Nehra would be supported by Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who played brilliantly in the recently concluded series.
Spinners — Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal — will also play an important role in the spin friendly wicket.
So, with the records favouring the visitors, it will be interesting to see if India could to change their fortunes this time around or not.
India: Virat Kohli (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Lokesh Rahul, Manish Pandey, Shreyas Iyer, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni (WK), Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Ashish Nehra (only for first T20I).
New Zealand: Kane Williamson (captain), Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Trent Boult, Tom Bruce, Colin de Grandhomme, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Adam Milne, Colin Munro, Glenn Phillips (wk).