India vs New Zealand T20 World Cup 2016 match at Nagpur: Likely XI for Black Caps

New Zealand play their first tournament after the retirement of Brendon McCullum as they take on India in the opening match of Super 10 stage of ICC World T20 2016 at Nagpur on Monday. A huge task lies ahead of Kane Williamson and Co to move forward without the services of McCullum. Although New Zealand have been impressive in the shortest format of the game in recent times, all their wins have come at home. The Black Caps came back hard against Pakistan, beat them 2-1 after facing a defeat in the opening match of their three-match Twenty20 International (T20I) series. Next were the Sri Lankans who were white-washed by New Zealand in the two-match T20I series
McCullum still remains their highest run-scorer in the T20Is, the next who follow are the likes of Martin Guptill, Ross Taylor and Williamson. Guptill and Williamson recently brought up a record opening partnership of 171 in a T20I against Pakistan, which is good news ahead of the World T20. Here is the likely XI of the Black Caps for New Zealand’s opener against hosts India on Tuesday.

Top-Order: Guptill and Williamson will easily bag their spot in the top-two batting slots of their side with Colin Munro coming in at No.3. Guptill along with Taylor and McCullum are the only New Zealanders to have 1000-plus T20I runs and with McCullum retired now, the explosive opener cannot throw away his wicket every time he comes out to bat. Guptill and Williamson have to ensure good starts for New Zealand so that the middle-order that has not made the same impact in the format can bat freely.

Munro’s recent knock that saw him score T20Is’ second fastest fifty will give the youngster a boost ahead of their big match against India.

Middle-Order: Taylor is yet to recover completely from his injury so mostly it will be wicketkeeper-batsman Henry Nichols who will bag a place in the important No. 4 position in the side. Taylor who has played in all the World T20s for New Zealand has 471 runs from 23 World T20 matches, second highest after McCullum’s 637 runs from 25 matches. Next in the line-up is Grant Elliot, the hero who took New Zealand to their very-first ICC Cricket World Cup final. His unbeaten 84 against South Africa helped New Zealand win a nail-bitter at Eden Park in 2015. However, Elliot does not have great numbers in the World T20s. He has scored only 107 from 11 matches.

New Zealand will want more heroic finishes from Elliot in order to go strong in the World T20 2016, seeing that the openers might not always be able to give them a flying start. Corey Anderson is another key player in the middle, whose fastest ODI ton which was later broken by AB de Villiers, gave an impression that Anderson can perform the role of a middle-order batsman decently. Aiding to it, he can bowl as well which strengthens his presence in the side. He has 12 scalps from 20 World T20 matches.

Lower-Order: The duo of Trent Boult and Tim Southee will once again play a huge role in New Zealand’s fate in this World T20. Southee stands fourth for New Zealand in terms of most number of wickets from a New Zealander in World T20s, 14 scalps from 10 matches. Meanwhile, Boult made his first appearance in a World T20 in the last edition and had managed four wickets from two matches. World T20 2016 will be the first World Cup for the likes of Micthell Santner and Adam Milne and it will be interesting to watch how they perform.

New Zealand (likely XI): Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson (c), Colin Munro, Henry Nichols/Ross Taylor, Grant Elliott, Corey Anderson, Luke Ronchi (wk), Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Adam Milne