India face New Zealand in a crunch match in the Super 12 stage of the ongoing ICC T20 World Cup on Sunday and there is a lot at stake for both teams. Pakistan have virtually sealed their spot in the semis from the group, by beating India, New Zealand and Afghanistan. Only one more team can qualify from the group and many are seeing this clash as the virtual quarter-final, although Afghanistan are capable of pulling off an upset or two. Virat Kohli understands the importance of this game but he also understands that India had one poor outing and that shouldn’t lead him to make wholesale changes in the team. Yet, sometimes in a tournament format, changes are needed to make an immediate impact. If India do end up batting first yet again, like they did against Pakistan, they would need to put up a big total on the board and keeping that in mind a few changes are needed to be made.
Here is the predicted XI that we think India should field to counter the threat posed by the Balckcaps:
1. Rohit Sharma: He has been one of the most successful batters in white-ball cricket over the past few years and the India team need its vice-captain to get a big one on Sunday.
2. Ishan Kishan: Trent Boult has said he would look to get the ball into the right-handed Indian top order batsmen and he means business. The presence of a southpaw at the top of the order will help unsettle the line of attack of the Kiwis. Also, Kishan’s explosive batting style can give India the much-needed start. He also plays alongside Boult and Adam Milne in the IPL and would know a thing or two about their mindset and plans.
3. Virat Kohli: The India captain produced a gritty half-century in the opener against Pakistan and he would again be expected to anchor the innings.
4. KL Rahul: A demotion after just one failure can look a bit too harsh but Rahul is a quality batter and a team player at that. His class and quality can come in handy in the middle overs.
5. Suryakumar Yadav: He needs to do what Asif Ali is doing for Pakistan. Suryakumar has the range in his power-hitting and India need him to deliver at the biggest stage.
6. Rishabh Pant: Pant played a little gem against Pakistan but he would have wanted to carry on. He will have to give it his all against a tricky opposition and help India get a big total if they are batting first.
7. Ravindra Jadeja: One of the best all-rounders in the world, Jadeja needs to do for India what he does so smoothly for Chennai Super Kings in the IPL.
8. Shardul Thakur: Captain Kohli mentioned that Thakur is part of the team’s plans and he should be drafted in immediately because of his batting and bowling abilities.
9. Ravichandran Ashwin: Ashwin is a huge weapon against left-handers and has the experience needed to perform in a crunch match like this one. He should walk into the playing XI in place of Varun Chakaravarthy.
10. Bhuvneshwar Kumar/Mohammed Shami: It is a tough one. Shami has form on his side from the IPL but Bhuvneshwar has been a big asset in T20s over the years, especially at the death. Kohli and Shastri will have to pick one over the other and it’s a decision both would find difficult to make.
11. Jasprit Bumrah: The finest in India and perhaps in the world. Kohli would expect wickets from his premier paceman this time around.
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