The New Zealand tour of India 2023 will start on Wednesday, January 18. The tour consists of three ODIs and as many T20Is. India have rested some of their senior players such as Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and KL Rahul. The visitors have also rested star players such as Kane Williamson and Tim Southee.
Hardik Pandya is the stand-in captain for India in the T20I series against New Zealand in the absence of Rohit. The Kiwis will be led by allrounder Mitchell Santner. Despite a number of star names missing, there is still an assurance of quality cricket because of the talent that will be on show from both sides. On that note, let's take a look at the three match-ups that could decide the course of the T20Is.
Here are the three player-battles to watch out for in the IND vs NZ T20I series:
3. Glenn Phillips vs Yuzvendra Chahal
Glenn Phillips was simply sensational for the Kiwis in the 20-20 World Cup 2022, scoring 201 runs at a fantastic strike rate of 158.26. His standout performance was undoubtedly a hundred against quality spinners from Sri Lanka in Sydney during the Super 12s stage.
Phillips has shown that he has the game to dominate the spinners and his match-up against leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal could be crucial in the upcoming series. Chahal couldn't even get a single game in the major tournament and will be keen to prove a point.
2. Suryakumar Yadav vs Lockie Ferguson
World’s no.1 T20I batter, who enjoyed a stunning 20-20 World Cup on an individual level was Suryakumar Yadav. The 32-year-old smashed three half-centuries in the tournament. Yadav has shown that he has absolutely no problems facing the speedsters.
This makes his match-up against Lockie Ferguson an interesting one. The Kiwis have used Ferguson as a middle-overs enforcer and he could be up against an in-form Yadav. It will be interesting to see whether Yadav continues to dominate express pace or whether Ferguson has a trick up his sleeve to fox the batter.
1. Hardik Pandya vs Mitchell Santner
While almost all the Indian batsmen look comfortable against spin, there is one man amongst their ranks who loves to smash them. In his international career so far, allrounder Hardik Pandya has shown many times how much he loves to dance down the track and loft the spinners out of the park.
Meanwhile, New Zealand’s premium allrounder Mitchell Santner has played 80 T20I matches so far and picked up 89 wickets at an economy rate of 7.11. He also smashed 491 runs in the 53 innings he batted. The battle between the two all-rounders will be a treat to watch in the upcoming series.