It is one of the biggest games for Virat Kohli as a leader. If he loses this, he will, for all practical purposes, relinquish the captaincy of the T20I team without the ICC trophy being offered. More importantly, India’s loss means the tournament will lose much of its luster. India has not gone half of its money, and from the point of view of the ICC, it would be a disaster. In every sense, the India vs New Zealand T20 World Cup match is a hypothetical knockout and the stakes couldn’t be higher.

It is likely that you will enter India with the same team. They firmly believe that the Pakistan match was an aberration and also prepared for the “lose the lot” scenario. While there has been some speculation about playing Ravichandran Ashwin, especially with so many left-handers in the New Zealand squad, it may be Varun Chakravarthy who gets another chance to impress.

The concern, however, is also with fast shooters. India’s only speed bowler is Jasprit Bumrah, while the other two, Muhammad Shami and Bhuveneshwar Kumar, both outperform. Bhuvneshwar was not at his best and as a rhythm player it is very important to get into the groove as quickly as possible.

Hardik Pandya, Bovneshwar Kumar need to step up and perform

Bovneshwar Kumar looked a pale shade of his original self
Bovneshwar Kumar looked a pale shade of his original self

Unless Bhuvneshwar is an older player, the bowling lacks teeth and this will mean that the hitting unit will have to make up for a relatively weaker bowling section. Hardik Pandya is also expected to throw at least two overshoots and this should give Kohli the flexibility he needs in such an important match.

India’s record against New Zealand is not great but the records mean nothing as we already saw in the Pakistan match. Said one of the Indian battalion gently –

“Every time in the World Cup stage we beat Pakistan, but we ended up losing the cup. This time, let it be different. We may have lost against Pakistan but it is time to go up and make up for it by putting in a good performance in the tournament.”

All India hopes he is right, unless he does, Indian cricket will be in turmoil in the coming weeks.

Edited by Prasin Mudgal
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