India, NZ clash in Twenty20 World Cup Super 10 opener
NAGPUR, India (AP):
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson is wary of the threat Indian spinners could pose for his batsmen in their World Twenty20 match yesterday.
"The pitch will be on the slow side and perhaps take a little turn," Williamson said yesterday ahead of the Super 10 opener. "In Indian conditions, we can expect spin to play a big part, and it's important that we adjust our game accordingly."
The pitch used here for a Test match against South Africa last year was rated as poor by the International Cricket Council (ICC) with the game ending inside three days.
The World T20 qualifying games also saw the ball turn. That could magnify the challenge in batting against India's Ravichandran Ashwin-led spin attack, which also boasts all-rounders Yuvraj Singh and Ravindra Jadeja, part-timer Suresh Raina, and the backup of Harbhajan Singh.
New Zealand have the added challenge of adjusting quickly to the format as their last engagement was a Test series against Australia, but Williamson played down this concern.
"In international games, you get to change formats consistently," Williamson said.
Hosts India are the favourites to win the tournament but start their campaign against an opposition they have never beaten in four previous meetings, including in the 2007 edition, which India won in South Africa.
"I don't think our previous record has any meaning. We go into the match tomorrow with a clean slate. India is a strong side, and Twenty20 cricket is fickle in nature," said Williamson, who has match winners of his own such as batsmen Ross Taylor and Martin Guptill and all-rounder Corey Anderson.
India's in-form batsman, Virat Kohli said that the team's fine recent run gave them a lot of confidence.
"We're pretty confident after winning 10 of 11 games and hope to take that momentum into the World Twenty20," Kohli said. "This is going to be far more challenging. This is a big event and the whole feeling, vibe, is different."
India's recent successes include winning the Asia Cup in Bangladesh as well as a 3-0 series victory in Australia. Kohli led the way, scoring 352 runs in eight T20 games at a strike rate of 134 and an average of 117.33, with openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan also among the runs.
"The middle order has not got too much of an opportunity in recent games. So it becomes our responsibility to get the runs at the top of the order," Kohli said. "I come in at No. 3, so I have a better chance of getting runs than batsmen to follow. We all understand that."
India and New Zealand are with Australia, Pakistan, and Bangladesh in Group Two. Group One consists of the West Indies, England, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and Afghanistan.