New Zealand and West Indies teams are all set to clash in a three-match T20I series, which is going to commence on November 27.
West Indies have clearly established themselves as heavyweights in the shortest format of the game having won two T20I World Cups (2012 and 2016) in the last decade.
New Zealand team have also been consistent performers in the T20I cricket, so the upcoming series between both teams promises to be an exciting one.
The itinerary of the three-match T20I series is as follows:
1st T20I - November 27 (Friday) | Venue - Eden Park, Auckland| Start time - 11:30 AM (IST)/6:00 AM(GMT)
2nd T20I - November 29 (Sunday) | Venue - Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui | Start time - 6:30 AM (IST)/1:00 AM(GMT)
3rd T20I - November 30 (Monday) | Venue - Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui | Start time - 11:30 AM (IST)/6:00 AM(GMT)
Despite their success in the World Cup tournaments, West Indies are currently placed at ninth place in the ICC T20I team rankings. Kieron Pollard's team will strive hard for some consistent performances during this series to better their standing in the rankings.
The last time the West Indies team played a three-match T20 series in New Zealand was in 2017/18. The Kiwis won that series easily by a 2-0 margin.
Eden Park, which is the venue for this match, has a drop-in pitch. Historically batsmen have had a great time at this venue when compared to the bowlers. 168 is the average first innings total at this ground, and in the second innings, it reduces to 151.
The New Zealand team management has decided to rest key players Kane Williamson and Trent Boult in this series to manage their workload. In Williamson's absence, veteran pacer Tim Southee will be leading the Kiwi side.
Their bowling line-up looks very strong even in the absence of spearhead Trent Boult. Tim Southee, Hamish Bennett, and Lockie Ferguson will comprise the pace bowling contingent.
Hamish Bennett will look to cement his position as the team's third pacer with some consistent performances. Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi will be the spin bowling options in the XI.
The West Indies side has more right-handed batsmen in their squad. So Sodhi's form will be crucial for his team as he can spin the ball away from the big-hitting right-handed batsmen like Pollard, Andre Fletcher, and Powell.
Santner, on the other hand, should look to support him by bowling economically. West Indies might look to counter-attack both these spinners by employing left-handed batsmen Nicholas Pooran and Shimron Hetmyer.
James Neesham and Daryl Mitchell will chip in with some overs whenever the need arises. As we can see, there are so many mini battles which will make this an intriguing watch.
Left-arm orthodox spinner Fabien Allen will be the lone specialist spin-bowling option in the ideal playing XI.
Pollard will be the sixth bowling option of this team. They have variety in the bowling attack, but skipper Pollard will be hoping for consistency which will be crucial for them to win the encounter.
On the batting front, both teams contain several power hitters in their ranks. However, West Indies holds the edge as they have more in-form batsmen.
Pooran and Pollard were at their destructive best with the bat during the recently concluded IPL, while Hetmyer also played a couple of useful cameos for Delhi Capitals in the tournament.
As mentioned earlier, New Zealand will be without their leading batsmen Kane Williamson in this series. Martin Guptill, Tim Seifert, Ross Taylor, and Glenn Phillips will form the core of their batting department.
All-rounders Neesham and Daryl Mitchell will be the designated finishers of this side.
New Zealand's ideal XI:
Martin Guptill, Tim Seifert (wk), Glenn Phillips, Ross Taylor, Jimmy Neesham, Daryl Mitchell, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee (c), Hamish Bennett, Lockie Ferguson, Ish Sodhi
West Indies ideal XI:
Andre Fletcher, Brandon King, Nicholas Pooran(WK), Shimron Hetmyer, Kieron Pollard(c), Rovman Powell, Keemo Paul, Fabian Allen, Kesrick Williams, Sheldon Cottrell, Oshane Thomas
What would your ideal starting XI be?