India and New Zealand face off in a three-match Twenty20 International series from tomorrow (November 1) in New Delhi and Pakistan fans will be rooting for Virat Kohli's "Men in Blue" for a reason.
New Zealand are the top-ranked T20I side in the world and India are fifth. The hosts don't have a chance to top the ICC rankings table even if they win the rubber. But such result will definitely benefit Pakistan.
"India will do Pakistan a huge favour if they defeat New Zealand in an upcoming three-match Twenty20 International series as such a result will see their arch rivals top the MRF Tyres ICC T20I Team Rankings," the International Cricket Council (ICC) said today (October 31).
"New Zealand are the top-ranked side in the shortest format with 125 points but Pakistan have closed in to within one point after securing a 3-0 win in their series against Sri Lanka that culminated in Lahore on Sunday.
"India are placed fifth at 116 points and can at best go to second position with a 3-0 win over New Zealand which will take them to 122 points. Pakistan will reach the top rank with their tally of 124 points in such a scenario with New Zealand slipping to 114 points and fifth position. Even a 2-1 series win for India will be enough for Pakistan to move to the top with New Zealand slipping to 121 points," it added.
The series-opener at Feroz Shah Kotla is the last international game for veteran Indian left-arm paceman Ashish Nehra. He will quit top-flight cricket after this contest on his home ground.
India won the preceding ODI series 2-1 and they face a big challenge against the Kane Williamson-led side. India have never beaten New Zealand in T20Is in previous six outings.
India v New Zealand series scenarios
- India win 3-0 - India 122 points, New Zealand 114 points
- India win 2-1- New Zealand 121 points, India 118 points
- New Zealand win 2-1- New Zealand 126 points, India 115 points
- New Zealand win 3-0 - New Zealand 132 points, India 111 points
India-New Zealand T20I series schedule (Matches start 7PM IST)
1 November (Wednesday): 1st T20I, New Delhi
4 November (Saturday): 2nd T20I, Rajkot
7 November (Tuesday): 3rd T20I, Thiruvananthapuram
ICC T20I Team Rankings (as of 31 October, before the India-New Zealand series)
(Read as Rank, Team, Points)
1. New Zealand 125
2. Pakistan 124 (+3)
3. West Indies 120
4. England 119
5. India 116
6. South Africa 112 (+2)
7. Australia 111
8. Sri Lanka 91 (-2)
9. Afghanistan 86
10. Bangladesh 76 (-2)
11. Scotland 67
12. Zimbabwe 65
13. UAE 52
14. Netherlands 49
15. Hong Kong 46
16. PNG 39
17. Oman 38
18. Ireland 36