New Zealand and India’s first task after being knocked out of the 2022 T20 World Cup in the semi-finals is facing each other in a three-match T20I series. New Zealand host the series and subsequent three-match ODI series as well and will later travel to India for their own white-ball tour of the country in January.
New Zealand did not face India in the T20 World Cup and so their superstar fast bowlers Tim Southee and Trent Boult did not really get a chance to compete against the marauding Suryakumar Yadav. However, New Zealand will be facing India in a three-match T20I series starting Friday and while there will be no Boult in the squad, Southee will be around and Kiwi captain Kane Williamson acknowledged that bowling to Suryakumar will be a challenge.
At the same time, however, Williamson said that facing the Indian No.4 is something that they are relishing. “A great challenge,” he said on ESPNCricinfo when asked about how some of the younger bowlers in his side are setting up to face Suryakumar.
“He is the best T20 batter in the world, we certainly saw that throughout the World Cup. Incredibly special player. It’s a great challenge for all bowlers, not just the new ones, and they will be looking forward to that. That is the beauty of playing the international game, you come up against the best and he is very much that at the moment,” said Williamson.
Suryakumar amassed 239 runs during the World Cup at an extraordinary average and strike-rate of 59.75 and 189.68 respectively. While he finished as the third highest run scorer, his strike rate was the highest by a fair distance among the top 10 run scorers in the tournament. He had climbed to the top of the ICC T20I rankings for batters after the Super 12 stage of the tournament. He then retained that spot even after India were knocked out in the semi-final. Suryakumar has scored 1284 runs in 38 innings accross his career. His runs have come at an astonishing strike rate of 179.07 and average of 41.41.
India’s tour of New Zealand for a white-ball series comprises of three T20Is and as many ODIs. Hardik Pandya will captain the team in the T20I series while Shikhar Dhawan will lead in the ODIs with regular skipper Rohit Sharma rested from the tour alongwith Virat Kohli and KL Rahul. The series will be held between November 18 to 30 and New Zealand will return to India for a white-ball series in January next year.
After the first match in Wellington, the tour moves to Mount Maunganui for the second T20I on November 20. The final match of the series will be hosted in Napier on November 22. This will be followed by the three-match ODI series that starts in Auckland on November 25. The second ODI will then take place in Hamilton on November 27 after which the third ODI will be played in Christchurch on November 30.
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