Pandya expects strong Black Caps T20I challenge after ODI whitewash

By Sports Desk January 26, 2023

Hardik Pandya warned India must be at the peak of their powers to secure a T20l series win over New Zealand after a dominant ODI clean sweep.

India head into the first of three T20Is at JSCA International Stadium Complex in Ranchi on Friday on the back of a 3-0 whitewash of the Black Caps in the 50-over format.

New Zealand have won just one of their past 11 completed against India in the short format, with that victory coming in the 2021 T20 World Cup in Dubai.

The tourists are yet to win a multi-game T20I bilateral series in India and they will be without the likes of Kane Williamson, Tim Southee and Tom Latham, with Mitchell Santner taking over as captain.

Pandya will lead India in the absence of Rohit Sharma, while Virat Kohli will not feature and Ruturaj Gaikwad misses out with a wrist injury.

All-rounder Pandya said: "We will try to win obviously. New Zealand is a good team both in T20Is and ODIs.

"They always challenge you. We will have to be at their best to beat them."

Shubman Gill comes into the series in the form of his life, scoring a sublime 208 in the first ODI and a century in the third match.

Gill is set to open the batting with Ishan Kishan, so Prithvi Shaw will have to bide his time.

Pandya said: "Shubman has done well and will start the series. The way he is batting and he was already in the team."

India and New Zealand were beaten semi-finalists in last year's T20 World Cup in Australia, although many of the players involved in the tournament will not be featuring this time around.

 

Suryakumar on top of the world

Suryakumar Yadav is another player New Zealand will be eager to see the back of before he gets set.

He was named the ICC Men's T20I Player of the Year for 2022 this week and is the top-ranked T20I batter in the world.

Suryakumar made a decisive 112 in his last T20I innings against Sri Lanka, his third century in six months in this format.

Baptism of fire for uncapped New Zealand bowlers

Uncapped duo Ben Lister and Henry Shipley are poised to make their debuts against a formidable batting line-up.

Lister will provide an alternative left-arm seam option with no Trent Boult for Santner to call upon.

Paceman Shipley will also be looking to make his mark on the T20I stage after making his ODI debut against Pakistan and facing India twice.

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