Opener Rohit Sharma holds a key figure in India's preparation for the impending World T20. His explosiveness up the order gives India the perfect start required in a T20 game, especially in the powerplays. But his record against New Zealand is a bit concerning for the team management and only implies that the onus of a perfect start depends on KL Rahul and skipper Virat Kohli in the ongoing five-game T20I series.
New Zealand is one of the sides Rohit has struggled to get going, which was even evident from his score of 7 in the opener in Auckland. Of the total 10 T20Is he has played against the Black Caps, Rohit has registered six single-digit scores - the percentage being the highest against any opponent. His next worst is against Australia - 8 single-digit scores off 16 innings.
Moreover, he averages only 22.77 against New Zealand in T20Is - the fourth lowest by a batter who has played a minimum of 10 innings against the oppnenent - while scoring 205 runs with only one unbeaten knock. Even his average strike rate against them - 129.74 - is the second-lowest against a team after Pakistan (129.62).
The concerning numbers imply that Rahul and Kohli will have to take over the responsibility to give India a solid start if the trend continues.
On Friday, in the first T20I, Rahul and Kohli added 99 runs for the second-wicket partnership to keep India firm and ahead in the chase to 204 after Rohit's second-over dismissal. Shreyas Iyer capped off the chase in uber-cool fashion with a blazing half-century to guide India to the target - their fourth 200-plus chase in T20Is and highest in overseas - in 19 overs.