For fans around the world, India versus New Zealand in recent years has been box office viewing. From the 2019 Cricket World Cup semi-final, to the inaugural World Test Championship final, a rivalry of sorts has been forged.
While New Zealand had the final say in both of those matches, they have no bearing on what lies ahead today: a potential T20 World Cup classic in the heat of Dubai.
Before the tournament, New Zealand and India most likely earmarked each other for their toughest games in Group 2 of the T20 World Cup. Now, the pair look at the fixture as a potentially make-or-break meeting.
After struggling with the ferocity of Shaheen Afridi’s pace and swing, India’s top order will no doubt face New Zealand left-armer Trent Boult in similar circumstances, though it was spinner Mitchell Santner and quick Tim Southee that Kane Williamson went to first in their first match. For the Black Caps, improvement with the bat is also crucial. Despite five players reaching double figures in their first match, no player passed 30, in a team display that lacked rhythm or pace.
India possible XI: Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli (c), Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur/Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Varun Chakravarthy, Jasprit Bumrah
New Zealand possible XI: Martin Guptill, Daryl Mitchell, Kane Williamson (c), Devon Conway, Glenn Phillips, James Neesham, Tim Seifert, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Trent Boult
While it isn’t panic stations yet for India, Shadul Thakur is an option to come in for Virat Kohli should they want make changes, with Bhuvneshwar Kumar the likely player to give way.
Hardik Pandya’s fitness has been a hot topic in the lead-up, and after bowling with little issue in the nets, should give Virat Kohli another option with the ball.