The Indian team is all set to kick-start the New Zealand limited-overs series after the historical tour of Australia where they emerged victorious in ODIs and Tests while the T20I series ended in a 1-1 draw after the second match was washed out due to rain.
It will be serve as a good preparatory tour for India ahead of the big-ticket World Cup as New Zealand are as always, strong contenders to win the marquee tournament.
The Kiwi's have a great record in home series since 2015/16 with 7-3 win-loss record. They have the perfectly balanced squad with stellar batsman and fierce bowling attack.
India's recent overseas performance against South Africa and Australia in ODIs gave them the upper hand against Black Caps under Virat Kohli's leadership. Here are the key battles to look for during the series:
Virat Kohli vs Kane Williamson
The battle of supremacy is between the skippers, regarding the impact on their team and it will be interesting to see who will take their team over the finish line. Kohli is by far the best batsman of this generation but Williamson is also not far behind as he is also part of the 'Fab Four' which also includes Steven Smith and Joe Root along with 'King' Kohli. The last time when Men in Blue toured New Zealand, Williamson was the top scorer with -- runs while Kohli, who was then the deputy of MS Dhoni, lead the scoring charts among Indians with ---.
MS Dhoni vs Ross Taylor
The battle of veterans is between the backbone of both the teams who are currently riding high on confidence with their current form. Taylor is at the prime stage of his batting while Dhoni is back to his brilliant best after a destructive show in the recently concluded ODI series against Australia. MS received the Man of the Series trophy after three consecutive half-centuries. Taylor is rocking the ICC rankings right now on third position behind Kohli and Rohit Sharma.
Rohit Sharma vs Martin Guptill
Both these players have the ability to change the fate of the match on their own. The other common quality between the two is when they get going oppositions feel the heat as they are double-centurions of their respective countries in limited-overs. Teams on the receiving end of a Sharma/Guptill onslaught have to get them out early otherwise they will not allow them any chance to come back into the match. It will be interesting to see which opener will lay the foundation of victory for their team.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar vs Trent Boult
The battle of pace and swing in the series will be between the two seniors Bhuvneshwar and Boult. Both players are leaders of their teams' bowling armies and a wicket-taking option for their respective skippers. In the absence of Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar has a little more responsibility on his shoulders with an inexperienced pace attack. Boult however is lucky in this regard as he has Tim Southee as his swing partner and the duo wrecked up the Sri Lanka team in the recently concluded series.
Ravindra Jadeja vs Mitchell Santner
In the small grounds in New Zealand, the one battle which will be under the scanner is the ‘Battle of Spin’. Santner is all set to make his comeback in the Kiwi squad almost after a year while Jadeja's consistency with bowling and gun fielding made him a regular option in Kohli’s plans recently. Both the players also have the ability to clear the ground with their humongous sixes.