India's probable starting XI for the 1st T20I against New Zealand

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India vs New Zealand | India's predicted XI for first T20I in Delhi

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SportsCafe Desk

11/01/2017

Despite sealing the ODI series in a magnificent fashion, India know well that even their best might fall short in overcoming this New Zealand side in the shortest format of the game. But, India’s T20 squad sees some significant changes as the hosts plan a memorable farewell to Ashish Nehra in Delhi.

New Zealand have beaten India in all their previous T20I matches so far as India face a somewhat indomitable task ahead of them on Wednesday. And a small glimpse of how they have performed in the ODI series could well highlight the fact that they will not be a pushover at all. However, New Zealand have lost in Feroz Shah Kotla before, against England in the World T20 semi-final that gives India some sort of confidence as they aim to top the World T20 rankings next.

Here is the predicted XI of the Men in Blues-

Openers

Shikhar Dhawan- The southpaw has been in good touch since his return. Apart from some loose shots here and there, which saw him giving away his wickets cheaply, Dhawan could be significant in giving India a blistering start in the game.

Rohit Sharma- He is undoubtedly one of the best limited-overs openers India have seen in its cricketing history and he keeps reminding of it every now and then. The third ODI on Sunday was one such occasion where he hit a massive 147 runs to help India post a huge target that eventually led to the narrow victory.

Middle-order

Virat Kohli- Though a century looks unlikely in a 20-over format, nothing seems impossible for Virat Kohli at the moment. The skipper bagged the Man of the series in the ODI format with two centuries in three games and looks to be in fierce form.

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KL Rahul- Lokesh Rahul is expected to get a nod ahead of Manish Pandey in the middle after BCCI has ignored the player for numerous games now. He was brilliant in Nagpur earlier this year when India hosted England, but hasn’t been very productive in the games he has been offered since then. However, Pandey and Kedar Jadhav have failed to make the most of their chances.

Dinesh Karthik- Karthik has played some welcome knocks in his return to the team guiding India to wins through some classy batting. He possesses the quality and experience to control the tempo of the game and is a major contender for India’s number four position ahead of the 2019 World Cup.

Hardik Pandya- Despite not replicating his performances of the Australia series in the recent ODIs, Hardik Pandya commands a special place for India in any limited-overs format game. His free-hitting prowess and overbrimming confidence could come handy in this series.

MS Dhoni- The former skipper has now become a silent contributor to India’s achievement now, which importance could only be observed if looked deeply. Dhoni did produce a timely knock on Sunday to put the game beyond doubt after Kohli and Sharma provided a great start.

Bowlers

Kuldeep Yadav- Axar Petal has been quite balancing in the last two ODIs for India, but expect Virat Kohli to start with his chinaman bowler in this game. Delhi pitch is known to help slow bowlers and Yadav is capable of creating a storm on his day.

Yuzvendra Chahal- Chahal had a fabulous game on Sunday on a track that offered little for bowlers. Despite getting hit for boundaries, the wrist spinner didn’t flicker for once in trying the flighted deliveries and it paid off, in the end, giving him two wickets. Kohli would like to gamble with him for sure today.

Jasprit Bumrah- With Ashish Nehra a must today, India will have to risk either Bumrah or Bhuvneshwar Kumar. And given on Bumrah’s last game’s display, Ravi Shastri and Kohli will hardly have any doubts over the selection.

Ashish Nehra- Sunday will be definitely a special day for the long-serving lanky pace bowler, who has shown rightly that quality gets better with age. His clinical bowling in the IPL has brought him back into the national team at 38-year-old, and he will hope to end it in a brilliant manner.

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