IND Vs NZ 1st T20I: Should Rishabh Pant open for India in New Zealand series?

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IND vs NZ 1st T20I Update

Semi-finalists for the 2022 World Cup and underachievers on the biggest stage of them all, India and New Zealand will continue their T20I rivalry on Friday. Let us look at IND vs NZ 1st T20I Update in details.

In the three-match T20I series against the hosts, New Zealand, Team India already lacks the services of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and KL Rahul. The VVS Laxman-coached team will take against Kane Williamson and company in the first T20I on Friday at the Sky Stadium under the captaincy of all-rounder Hardik Pandya.

In order to replace the hole left by the absence of seasoned veterans, India will likely debut a new opening batting duo in the first game of the series.

Shubman Gill and Ishan Kishan most likely to start Indian innings

Given that both Shubman Gill and Ishan Kishan recently scored centuries in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, it seems most likely that they would be chosen to bat first. Gill scored a 55-ball 126 against Karnataka while Kishan struck a 64-ball 102 against Odisha.

Kishan expected to be one of the openers after India’s embarrassing performance in Dubai; he played in 15 T20Is and hit three fifties but dropped once India’s top three players returned.

On the other hand, Gill has yet to play in a T20I and has a career IPL strike rate of 125.25, which is undoubtedly not what India needs as they work to turn things around. Gill agrees with KL Rahul that T20 cricket strike rates are “extremely, very overrated.”

It will be intriguing to watch whether India decides to use Rishabh Pant as their opener, something they need to explore.

IND vs NZ 1st T20I Update: Wasim Jaffer’s views on Rishabh Pant as opener for India

Wasim Jaffer, a former Indian opener, believes that in the shortest format, the visiting team’s wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant should begin the game.

“I don’t think Rishabh has batted there (finisher). He has batted at No. 4 or No. 5 even for the Delhi Capitals, but those places are sealed by Surya and Hardik. I feel that when the field is up and if Rishabh Pant gets going then he is a dangerous player. His best position is at the top of the order.” Jaffer told ESPNCricinfo ahead of the 1st T20I between India and New Zealand.

The former Indian opener predicted India’s starting lineup for the first game of the series against the Black Caps and said that Pant is one such player who can give India a strong start. “Once he gets a start and is 20-30 not out in the powerplay then he is dangerous. Then even if the fielders are out, it doesn’t matter to him. But when he comes to bat at No. 5, the field is already out and the pressure is on him. It is difficult for him to hit sixes straightaway. He is such a player from whom you can expect a blistering start,” Jaffer added.

Wasim Jaffer’s India 11 for 1st T20I Vs New Zealand:

Shubman Gill, Rishabh Pant (WK), Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya (C), Deepak Hooda, Washington Sundar, Harshal Patel, Kuldeep Yadav/Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammed Siraj, Arshdeep Singh

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