The five-match T20 International series against New Zealand is already in the pocket and Virat Kohli’s Team India has scripted history. The T20I series win is India’s first in New Zealand having failed twice earlier have won. The last two matches of the T20I series are a mere formality but Kohli has shown that he is not the one to take his foot off the paddle and so New Zealand should not expect any let-up in the intensity from the Indian players when the two teams meet in Wellington’s Westpac Stadium on January 31, 2020.
In a big blow to New Zealand, their captain Kane Williamson has been ruled out of the 4th T20I with a left-shoulder injury sustained while diving in the field in the third match against India at Hamilton on Wednesday (January 29, 2020). Tim Southee will captain the side in Wellington.
The Westpac Stadium pitch is a flat track which helps in strokeplay, a prospect which the big hitters from both Kane Williamson-led New Zealand and India will relish while the bowlers will have to maintain a tight line and length to keep a check on the runs. Out of the last five matches, the team batting first has gone on to win the match with the average score being 178.
While the pacers have enjoyed picking up wickets on the Westpac pitch, the spinners, too, have come in handy as they have enjoyed a better economy rate.
Wellington saw a cloudly morning on January 31, 2020, but the sun was soon out as the day progressed. Even though the city is witnessing a strong breeze, there is no forecast of rain. Some cloud cover is expected later in the evening when the match is in progress. The temperature during the match could be between 19-22 degrees Celcius.
New Zealand have lost their last five T20I matches while India have registered wins in their last five outings. New Zealand has defeated India in both the T20Is the two teams have played at the venue – by 5 wickets in the match on February 27, 2009, and then by a massive 80 runs in the second game on February 6, 2019. New Zealand have defeated their opponent in the last six T20Is in Wellington but that record could be under threat given the current form of India.
India T20I squad: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul (wicketkeeper), Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant, Sanju Samson, Shreyas Iyer, Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur, Navdeep Saini, Washington Sundar
New Zealand T20I squad: Tim Southee (captain), Martin Guptill, Ross Taylor, Scott Kuggeleijn, Colin Munro, Tom Bruce, Daryl Mitchell, Mitchell Santner, Tim Seifert (wicketkeeper), Hamish Bennett, Ish Sodhi, Blair Tickner