India look to finish overseas journey on a high in T20I series vs New Zealand

first_imgSouth Africa. England. Australia and finally New Zealand. India’s overseas journey is in its final stage and they would want to finish on a high after an unhappy start in South Africa. India had crashed to heartbreaking defeats in Cape Town and Centurion before that remarkable victory in Johannesburg.The ODIs in South Africa showed the world what India were really capable of. Driven by Virat Kohli’s hundreds and the guile of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal helped India trounce South Africa 5-1 for a historic ODI series triumph. They followed that up with a T20I series win in South Africa. Back-to-back series wins in South Africa and the Indian team was on a high.England would always be a much stiffer challenge but India warmed up nicely with T20I series wins in Ireland and England. India were given a reality check in the ODIs but the 1-2 defeat was perhaps understandable because they played without their first-choice bowling attack. MS Dhoni endured the worst year of his international career and there were no hundreds from Virat Kohli.Let the T20Is begin #TeamIndia all set to take on the Kiwis for the 1st T20I tomorrow at Westpac Stadium #NZvIND pic.twitter.com/iHzeIL7390BCCI (@BCCI) February 5, 2019What was not understandable was India’s shambolic performance in the Test series. They failed to take advantage of strong positions and Virat Kohli’s team selection raised several questions. However, Kohli continued his domination with the bat and scored nearly 600 runs in 5 Tests to show he was by far the most outstanding batsman in modern cricket.advertisementBy the time India flew down to Australia, Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri were under pressure. Both men had claimed this was the best Indian team over the last 15 years and it was time to prove it. Without Steve Smith and David Warner, Australia were considerably weaker but they were still a force to reckon with in their own conditions. Starc. Hazlewood. Cummins. Lyon.Cheteshwar Pujara blunted arguably the most balanced Test bowling attack in the world and India’s pacers rocked the Aussies. India welcomed New Year with a historic 2-1 Test series triumph. A few weeks later, India won their first ever bilateral ODI series in Australia.New Zealand was going to be a short stop on India’s way back home. But the five ODIs were going to be crucial in the build-up to the World Cup. Virat Kohli did not score a hundred – no one did – but India finally found answers to their middle-order woes. MS Dhoni had found form in Australia and Ambati Rayudu finally cemented his place with a cultured 90 after India had collapsed to 18 for 4 in the final ODI in Wellington. A 4-1 series win over the Black Caps gave India the confidence of staging a strong challenge in the World Cup.And now, there is another opportunity for the likes of Shubman Gill, Rishabh Pant and Vijay Shankar to impress the selectors and the team management. Pant is certainly a lock for the World Cup but Gill, who replaced KL Rahul in the ODI and T20I side in New Zealand, will hope to make a mark any way he can.Welcome to the T20 format. What would you call this shot from @RishabPant777 #TeamIndia #NZvIND pic.twitter.com/R5QTJNFtQIBCCI (@BCCI) February 5, 2019India have played 37 internationals across South Africa, England, Australia and New Zealand since the start of 2018. They have won 6 series in those countries. Can India add another series win to their kitty and show the world why they are the best travellers in the world?Also Read | India, England hot favourites for 2019 World Cup: Shane WarneAlso Read | Pant should play 2019 World Cup, New Zealand T20Is great opportunity for him: HarbhajanAlso Read | This Indian team has shoved the word overseas into a bin: Ravi ShastriAlso See:last_img

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