After the T20 World Cup 2016, New Zealand have won five out of eleven T20 series. The interesting fact is that they have played eight out of eleven series at home and won four. Their last T20 assignment was against the second string side of England at home. And, that English side without many first-choice players was enough to defeat the Blackcaps by 3-2.
New Zealand who were the semi-finalists of the last T20 World Cup would be aware of the quality of their T20 side. The Blackcaps have limited resources but they fight hard. They always do their home-work well and are on spot with their plannings most of the times. And, now the mercurial-yet-consistent eye T20 World Cup 2020.
The Kane Williamson-led side is scheduled to face India in all the formats, this home season. New Zealand boast of a very great record against the Men in Blue in this format, winning eight out of eleven T20Is. And, the record becomes even greater in their own backyard. The Blackcaps have tasted victory in four out of five matches and are yet to lose a T20I series against India at home.
Also Read: New Zealand vs India: Kiwis announce the 13-man squad for the T20I series
In this article, we have featured three Kiwi players to watch out for in the T20 series against India:
1. Ross Taylor
Ross Taylor, New Zealand’s one of the most reliable batsmen in the Test cricket and in ODIs, is not a great player in this format. His T20I career batting average and strike rate are 25.63 and 121.88 respectively. Taylor has represented New Zealand in 95 matches and has just five 50+ scores to his name. Among all the players who have played as many T20Is as Taylor, the Kiwi has the worst average and strike rate.
Coming to his role, the right-handed batsman is a middle-order batsman. A middle-order batsman is generally supposed to accumulate runs at a quicker rate with frequent boundaries. However, the 35-year-old has failed to do so. On average, he hits 1.26 fours and 0.74 maximum(s) per inning, overall about two boundaries (four and sixes combined) in one inning.
His last half-century in T20Is came way back in 2014. Taylor has crossed the 25-run mark in just 30 innings, and only fourteen of them have come at a strike rate of above 135. New Zealand need attacking batsmen in their batting unit, and the experienced man is not helping his team’s cause. It will be interesting to see for how long will the team management of New Zealand persist with Ross Taylor in the shortest format.
2. Hamish Bennett
Hamish Bennett, the medium-fast bowler is making a comeback in the national side of New Zealand. His previous international game was an ODI against Bangladesh in 2017. Despite making his debut at the highest level in 2010 Bennett has just played just 17 international matches. The main reason behind Bennett’s exclusion from international cricket has been frequent injuries.
And, injuries to other players have led to Bennett’s selection in the national side for this T20 leg. Trent Boult and Lockie Ferguson are recovering from injury; while other pacers — Matt Henry, Seth Rance, Doug Bracewell, and Adam Milne are suffering from different injuries. The national selector of New Zealand Gavin Larsen told that Hamish has been impressive in the domestic circuit and has evolved his game.
Playing for Wellington, the eventual champions, the right-arm quick finished the Super Smash 2019-20 as the leading wicket-taker. The 32-year-old also produced a match-winning performance in the final against Auckland, as he snared three wickets, and two of them were Martin Guptill and Colin Munro. He has good pace & bounce and is known for using his variations well. Bennett is in excellent form and might be a surprise package for the visitors India.
3. Kane Williamson
Kane Williamson who is one of the top-rated batsmen of this era has been mediocre in the shortest format for quite some time. Since 2017 in T20Is, Williamson has been averaging 26.90 with a poor strike rate of 117.46 in 22 games. He has scored just three 50+ scores in his past twenty innings in this format. These numbers are way below par for the best all-format batsman of the team.
The right-handed batsman is the best suited to bat at three for the anchoring role. While batting at one down, the 29-year-old batsman can provide stability to the batting unit of New Zealand. Batting at one down regularly and controlling the inning, Kane should look to get his touch back in the T20 cricket. The T20 World Cup 2020 is coming up, and the Blackcaps will need an in-form Kane Williamson for the mega event.
Although the Kiwis are yet to lose a series against India at home, Kohli’s army may break the barrier this time around. Apart from Hardik Pandya, India have travelled to New Zealand with a full-strength squad. After a disappointing tour of Australia, the hosts will require to push their weight up. And, it is high time for the skipper of the side to step up with the bat.
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