ICC T20 dreams Globalism He was a trophy smasher, but crazy about cricket India Once again ready to cheer on the ‘Men in Blue’ as they take on New Zealand in a 3 match T20I series starting on 18 November. The eyes of the cricket world will be on Hardik Pandya’s side looking for compensation after their loss to England in the semi-final.
Amid calls for a “comprehensive reform” after an unexpected exit from the World Cup, the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry fielded a young team, and chose to rest, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma. Hoping to turn things around, India’s T20I side in the new era will rely heavily on superstar Suryakumar Yadav and captain Hardik Pandya.
The dynamic Suryakumar lit up the T20 World Cup with his dazzling stroke play, amassing 239 runs at an impressive strike rate of 189.68. Greeted as “Mr. 360 degrees”, Suryakumar, along with Virat Kohli, were the only Indian cricketers to appear in the ICC T20 World Cup ‘Team of the Tournament’ which featured players from six different countries.
With a career average of 41.41 and a strike rate of 179.07 in T20Is, Suryakumar will be a vital cog in India’s fight against the Kiwis. The leading run-scorer in 2022 with 1,040 runs from 29 matches, Suriyakumar dethroned Pakistan’s wicket-keeper Mohammad Rizwan during the T20 World Cup as the leading bowler. And fans, us included, can’t wait to see another breathtaking hit from Suryakumar in the upcoming Kiwis series.
When New Zealand toured India in 2021, the elegant batsman played a winning stroke in the opener. Coming in on 3, he scored 60 runs off 42 balls batted with 6 fours and 6 sixes. India had defeated the Kiwis 3-0 in the T20I series.
Alongside Suryakumar, the spotlight will be Hardik Pandya, whose leadership skills will be tested to the limit under the challenging conditions of New Zealand. With the ability to win a match with both bat and ball, the skipper was looking to lead by example, the way he led the Gujarat Titans to lift the IPL trophy 2022.
Some are touting the versatile link, who captained India in the two-match T20I series against Ireland earlier this year, succeeding Rohit Sharma as captain in the shortest form ahead of the 2024 T20 World Cup.
With the next T20 World Cup still some time away, Pandya has enough time to hone his skills as captain and the tour of New Zealand could be the platform to announce his arrival as captain.
The 29-year-old excelled with both bat and ball at the T20 World Cup and will be looking to continue his rich form. He played a crucial 40-minute haul and picked up three wickets in the opening match against Pakistan. In the semi-finals, he hit a powerful 33-ball 63 to guide India to a respectable total of 168. Pandya’s bowling efforts were no less effective either. He finished the T20 World Cup with eight wickets in his catch.
With over 1,100 runs and 62 wickets from 79 T20I matches, Pandya will definitely be on the watch list for the New Zealanders who were also impressed by their semi-final defeat against Pakistan in the World Cup.
After successfully dealing with difficult circumstances, will Surya and Panda be able to conceive in New Zealand? Well, over a billion Indians are pinning their hopes on the duo to beat the Kiwis like they did in 2020, winning the T20I series 5-0.
The tour begins with a T20I in Wellington before the teams move on to Tauranga and Napier for the second and third T20Is on November 20 and 22.
Catch all the cricket action from India’s tour in New Zealand LIVE and exclusively on Prime Video from 18 November.
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