India are all set to play their opening game of the ICC World T20 2016 against New Zealand at the VCA Stadium in Nagpur, Tuesday.
India will start the ICC World T20 campaign as the favourites, whereas New Zealand are one of the dark horses with a ridiculously-strong batting lineup
When these two sides square off, a thrilling encounter is surely on the cards. Both the captains MS Dhoni and Kane Williamson will look to take that first step towards winning the coveted trophy.
Things are not going to easy for either sides, but India will still have the advantage of playing in home conditions and the fans will be right behind the hosts as they always act as the 12th man.
Here are some of the key battles for the India vs New Zealand encounter:
Rohit Sharma vs Tim Southee: The Mumbai Indians captain has been in good form with the bat. However, his weak zone outside the off-stump has been noticed by most of the bowlers around the world and they will all try to bowl at him there and make him play his shots around the corridor of uncertainty. Tim Southee is the most experienced seamer in the Kiwi squad, and he will look to dent India's start. He can swing the ball both ways and that makes him an effective bowler in the Powerplay overs of the shortest format of the game. But he will have to wary of hitting the right line and length, because if he misses Rohit will take full toll.
Virat Kohli vs Trent Boult: The India vice-captain cannot do anything wrong at the moment, as he has been going through a purple patch with his willow. He was in superb form during the Asia Cup T20 2016, and he will look to emulate the same form in the ICC World T20 as well. He will have to be countered by New Zealand's best seamer – Trent Boult. The left-arm Black Caps speedster bowls at a decent pace and can cause some serious problems if he gets a little bit of assistance from the wicket.
MS Dhoni vs Mitchell McClenaghan: The India captain has silenced the critics who were questioning his abilities of finishing the game, with a few nice knocks. He has played some wonderful cameos at the end fag end of the innings to hand his side some good victories. MS Dhoni- the finisher -- is surely back into his rhythm and his wicket will be a priceless one for New Zealand.
Mitchell McClenaghan has been one New Zealand's most effective death bowlers and his role with the ball will be crucial. He has done it for the IPL 2015 defending champions Mumbai Indians and he will have to do it again for his national side. Will he be able to restrict Dhoni from hitting those colossal sixes? We will have to wait and watch.
Martin Guptill vs Jasprit Bumrah: A devastating opening batsman will be up against a bowler who has been the star of the India seam attack. Guptill was snubbed by the IPL frnachises at the auction last month and he can make the team owners regret that decision. Playing those flamboyant shots against Bumrah is going to be extremely difficult, however. One can be rest assured that the Black Caps opening batsman will do his homework before he faces the speedster. This battle is going to be very, very interesting.
Colin Munro vs R Ashwin: The left-hander can smoke the ball out of the park with ease and he has been doing so for the Kiwis in recent times. And, this is the kind of challenge that Ashwin likes in the shortest format of the game. Munro will look to play his natural game and Ashwin will try and fox the New Zealand batsman with his variations.