India find themselves in must-win territory against Kiwis

(From L-R) India's Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant, Jasprit Bumrah, captain Virat Kohli and KL Rahul discuss during the ICC men’s Twenty20 World Cup cricket match between India and Pakistan at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium in Dubai on 24 October, 2021AFP

After suffering a loss against Pakistan in their opening game of the ICC Men's T20I World Cup, the Virat Kohli-led side find themselves in a must-win situation against New Zealand.

India and New Zealand will lock horns against each other in the Super 12 stages of the World Cup on Sunday at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. Both sides will come into the contest after suffering a loss against Pakistan.

When it comes to the Indian side, one needs to see how the opening duo of Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul will perform having been dismissed cheaply against Pakistan by Shaheen Shah Afridi. The left-arm seamers have always caused troubles for the Indian top-order and the presence of Trent Boult in the Kiwi attack is expected to cause further problems.

When it comes to batting, only Virat Kohli was the bright spot against Pakistan and the Indian skipper has the knack of producing quality knocks under pressure, so once again, it would be Kohli who will be expected to rise to the occasion and change the tide in India's favour.

Suryakumar Yadav and Rishabh Pant need to come into their own and the duo need to bring in that X-factor which has helped their respective IPL franchises in the past. The only question regarding the batting order remains whether Ishan Kishan can come into the eleven, but it looks unlikely that someone would be dropped just after one bad game against Pakistan.

India has never defeated New Zealand in the T20I World Cup, but if there was any time for this record to be broken, it is now if the side wants to reach the semi-finals stage.

Hardik Pandya's bowling has been one mystery for a long period, but on Tuesday he did have a bowl in the nets, and he is expected to bowl some overs against New Zealand, and if he bowls some overs against the BlackCaps it will surely ease the nerves of skipper Kohli in terms of giving him another bowling option.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar has looked out of sorts in the recently-concluded Indian Premier League (IPL) and he was off-colour against Pakistan as well. As a result team India needs to consider Shardul Thakur as he gives another dimension with his batting. Shardul had a knack for picking wickets for Chennai Super Kings (CSK) so he can definitely be looked at for the game against New Zealand.

Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah would be required to up their game if India wants to show a good performance with the ball against New Zealand. Ravindra Jadeja and Varun Chakravarthy are likely to be persisted with for the game against New Zealand and it needs to be seen whether Ravichandran Ashwin finds a place for himself or not.

Talking about New Zealand, the batting outfit needs to rise to the occasion and back the bowling up. Kane Williamson also needs to find form if the BlackCaps want to leave a mark in this World Cup.

The bowling almost bailed the Kiwis out against Pakistan, however, it needs to be seen whether Adam Milne now comes back into the lineup to further boost the fast-bowling arsenal.

India squad

Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma (vice-captain), KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Rahul Chahar, Ravichandran Ashwin, Shardul Thakur, Varun Chakravarthy, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Shami.

New Zealand squad

Kane Williamson (capt), Todd Astle, Trent Boult, Mark Chapman, Devon Conway, Adam Milne, Martin Guptill, Kyle Jamieson, Daryl Mitchell, Jimmy Neesham, Glenn Phillips, Mitchell Santner, Tim Seifert, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee.