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Preview: Mighty West Indies Cricket vs Depleted New Zealand

What do you think of when you hear ‘New Zealand vs West Indies’ cricket T20I series? Big hitting, run-fests, and of course, Super Overs.

New Zealand have featured in SEVEN Super Overs, six in T20I – losing all seven of them, and the first two against the mighty West Indies.

Where did it all start? The first super over was a thriller between West Indies and New Zealand, back in the day with Chris Gayle and Brendon McCullum.

Anyway, we cannot wait for this series to get underway! Here is my preview for the New Zealand vs West Indies T20 series. Read till the end for my prediction!

Who do you think will be the winner? The suprise package? Comment below!

Also Read: Eng vs SA T20I Series Preview, Ind vs Aus ODI Series Preview, Series Predictions – Twitter Edition

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The Batting

WI: Star-Studded T20 line up the highlight

  • Shimron Hetmyer-Pooran-Pollard-Powell-Fabian Allen form a spectacular middle-order. Watch out for Pooran, one of the most exciting talents in the world right now and definitely for West Indies cricket.
  • Captaincy seems to have pushed Pollard to another level. At the IPL – 268 runs at a strike rate of 191.42 and CPL – 207 runs at 204.95, he is coming in with dangerous form. What more? Pollard was a key member of TKR and MI teams, this year’s winner at the CPL and IPL respectively
  • Andre Fletcher-Brandon King might be the new opening combination of the WI. Relatively inexperienced pair, but explosive nevertheless

NZ: Inexperience with a Williamson-sized hole

  • Kane Williamson is sitting out of the T20s to prepare for the Test series. As seen in the IPL, he is valuable in any position, and hence, NZ will miss him dearly
  • If one of Guptill-Seifert-Phillips come to the party, New Zealand might be able to put competitive scores
  • The finishing prowess is a concern. Santner and Neesham have finishing pedigree but lack of game time in the IPL and only Taylor/Mitchell may hurt NZ

The Bowling

WI: Death Bowling the Weakness for West Indies

  • The swinging conditions early on might aid Cottrell against NZ’s heavy top order
  • Hayden Walsh Jr. vs Ross Taylor will be a key battle to watch out for
  • Death bowling options? Keemo Paul, Kesrick Williams, Oshane Thomas? All decent but not yet convincing

NZ: A Boult-Size Hole In the Bowling Department

  • Trent Boult rested after a successful IPL, including a match-winning performance in the final
  • All eyes will be on Lockie Ferguson and the new kid on the block – Kyle Jamieson
  • Ish Sodhi has been decent for New Zealand without ever going to greater heights – can he make a mark in this series?
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The Broken Dream

WI: The Russell Muscle Question

  • Andre Russell, injuries, and lack of communication – same old story. Does he still have a future with West Indies cricket especially with the T20 World Cups on the horizon?
  • Lendl Simmons has played some of the most memorable innings but is still in-and-out of the squad. He is not in the squad for the T20 series.
  • End of the road for Chris Gayle’s West Indies career?

NZ: Southee & Taylor – valuable experience or liability?

  • Ross Taylor, one of the most underrated ODI batsmen of the century, but his T20 record is subpar. How many T20 caps can he add to his 100?
  • Tim Southee, the limited overs bowler, has not lived up to his potential since his 7-33 in the 2015 Cricket World Cup. He has even been at the wrong end of Super Overs. Can T20 captaincy bring back the spark?

Prediction

Verdict: 2-1 West Indies

A depleted New Zealand team will still be hard to beat at home, but given the batting depth of the West Indies, I am giving the edge to West Indies 2-1.

Add to that, the West Indians have been coming from a successful IPL tournament, while the Kiwis, barring Boult (who is not playing this series), had nothing to show.

Who do you think will triumph in this contest? Comment below and let us know!

My Starting XI:

These are my starting XI for the first T20I (assuming everyone is available in terms of COVID and injuries).

WI:

Andre Fletcher, Brandon King, Shimron Hetmyer, Nicholas Pooran (WK), Rovman Powell, Kieron Pollard*, Fabian Allen, Keemo Paul, Hayden Walsh Jr., Oshane Thomas, Sheldon Cottrell

NZ:

Martin Guptill, Tim Seifert (WK), Glenn Phillips, Ross Taylor, Daryll Mitchell, Mitchell Santner, Jimmy Neesham, Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee*, Lockie Ferguson, Ish Sodhi

*captain

The Squads

These are the other options in the squads.

WI: Kyle Mayers, Romario Shepherd

*Note: New Zealand has 2 squads – first 2 T20Is, and 3rd T20I.

NZ: Hamish Bennett, Devon Conway

3rd T20I: Doug Bracewell, Mark Chapman, Scott Kuggeleijn in (Ferguson, Taylor, Southee out – Santer will captain)

Image Courtesy: Westpact Cricket Stadium – Paladisious, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Preview: Ind V Aus – Closer Than It Appears

India (Ind) vs Australia (Aus) — a rivalry of sorts in recent times, especially in ODIs. It is 2020. Times have changed. Looked at ODI rankings recently?

Australia – #3, Zimbabwe – #4, Ireland – #5

Not kidding. This is the points table for the ODI Super league leading up to the 2023 ODI World Cup. The league was just getting underway before COVID hit.

Now, the proceedings finally restart. India vs Australia at Sydney on November 27th for a good-ole classic ODI match, India’s first in the ODI league.

My prediction for the series: India 2, Australia 1. Read till the end to see why. Let us know who you think will win in the comments section below!

Also Read: Eng vs SA T20I Series Preview, Series Predictions – Twitter Edition

The Batting

Ind: Batting Has Depth But No Flexibility

  • Dhawan, KL Rahul, Kohli, Iyer, Pandey, Agarwal, Samson, and even Hardik Pandya (with back injury) – none of the top 6 bowl
  • Rohit Sharma is one of the ODI players of the decade, but is out with an injury from the IPL. How much will this batting line-up miss him?
  • With the #4 dilemma India suffered prior to the 2019 World Cup semi-final, it may be wise to move KL Rahul to #4 and open with the in-form Mayank Agarwal or Shubman Gill

Aus: Batting Has Too Much Flexibility

  • With Finch-Warner-Labuschagne-Smith, the top four is pretty solid and settled
  • The concern is the flexibility in the middle order – Stoinis, Carey, Maxwell and maybe even Moises Henriques/Cameron Green. Carey & Maxwell coming from disaster IPLs and Stoinis in the middle order is a hit and miss (fluid line-ups do not work much – look at KKR from the IPL)
  • Out-of-the-box: Move Stoinis up to open, drop Labuschagne, and play with 3 all-rounders/power-hitters?
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The Bowling

Ind: Kul-cha Holds the Key to India’s Success

  • Kuldeep Yadav has had a horrid year or so with the ball, but in the large Australian grounds, the Kuldeep-Chahal partnership needs to be revived
  • If Pandya does not bowl, should India drop a batsman and play Shardul Thakur as another bowling option/slogger down the order?
  • Shami’s opening spells and Bumrah’s death bowling will be key

Aus: 5th Bowling Option the Only Issue

  • Watch out for Hazlewood. I have a feeling his miserly line-and-length bowling will set the tone for the series
  • With Starc-Hazlewood-Cummins the fast bowling is set and with Zampa getting into rhythm, this looks like a stable core
  • 1 out of Stoinis + Henriques/Green + Maxwell/Labuschagne will complete the bowling, which is the only concern in this line-up
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The Broken Dream

Ind: Manish Pandey and Sanju Samson

  • India vs Australia ODI at Sydney 2016 – Manish Pandey’s 104* takes his team home in the chase of 331. 4 years down the line, still has not nailed a spot (feat inconsistency and selection mismanagement). Can he find a spot in the XI?
  • Sanju Samson has always lit up the IPL and is finally getting some chances in the international fold. With KL Rahul almost certainly taking the gloves, can India find a space for him as an X-factor or will he end up as another Indian unlucky cricketer?

Aus: The New Kids on the Block

  • Sean Abbott, Cameron Green, and Labuschagne in ODIs are great prospects for the future, and it remains to be seen if their long-term future will be secure
  • Matthew Wade made a marvelous comeback after toiling in domestic cricket for a while. With Carey’s struggle of late, Wade may get a chance. Who knows, at 32, this might be his final try in ODI cricket

Prediction

Verdict: 2-1 India

This series will be closer than it appears. Australia at home with this bowling attack and an envious top 4, Australia are the clear favorites.

If India can find that final lower-order firepower and exploit Australia’s 5th bowling option, we might be in for a close one.

I think Australia will win the first one, but India will bounce back with two on the trot to win the series.

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My Starting XI:

These are my starting XI for the first ODI (assuming everyone is available in terms of COVID and injuries).

Ind:

Shikhar Dhawan, Mayank Agarwal, Virat Kohli*, KL Rahul (WK), Shreyas Iyer, Ravindra Jadeja, Hardik Pandya, Mohammad Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav

Aus:

Aaron Finch*, David Warner, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Marcus Stoinis, Moises Henriques/ Glenn Maxwell, Alex Carey (WK), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Adam Zampa

*captain

The Squads

These are the other options in the squads.

Ind: Manish Pandey, Navdeep Saini, Sanju Samson (WK), Shubman Gill, Shardul Thakur

Aus: Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Cameron Green, Daniel Sams, Glenn Maxwell, Andrew Tye, Matthew Wade (WK)

Image Courtesy: Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) – Marc Dalmulder from Hamlyn Terrace, Australia, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Preview: Eng vs SA – Why SA Will Sweep 3-0

November 27th, the big day is finally here—England (Eng) vs South Africa (SA), India vs Australia, and New Zealand vs West Indies.

We will start by previewing the England vs South Africa 3-match T20I series. This series has been in the news for ominous reasons—Cricket South Africa’s administrative troubles, mixed BLM’s messages, and COVID positive cases. Now that the series is finally on, let us focus on the cricket.

My prediction for the series: South Africa 3, England 0. Read till the end to see why.

Let us know who you think will win in the comments section below!

Also Read: India vs Australia ODI Series Preview, Series Predictions – Twitter Edition

The Batting

Eng: Too Many Options!!

  • England’s limited overs batting has so much depth they are currently practicing with Team Morgan vs Team Buttler. Eyeing the T20 World Cup, experimentation will be the focus before settling down
  • How many openers can they fit in? Bairstow, Roy, Buttler, and now even Stokes (Banton did not even make the T20I squad)
  • Dawid Malan will hold key given his stellar recent form – 16 matches, average of 48.71, 146.66 strike rate, with the best of 103*

SA: Solid Line Up But Finishers Needed

  • De Kock and Faf are in good touch as seen in the IPL. With Miller, Van der Dussen, Bavuma, and Klassen, they have a good mix of experience and youth
  • SA will definitely be steady, but can they need their power hitters and finishers come to the party. (The old Killer Miller, please come back)
  • Consistency will be key with this line-up. If their batsmen fire in the first match, they will be dangerous to watch for the rest of the series.
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The Bowling

Eng: Good composition but expensive death bowling

  • Jofra Archer, Adil Rashid, and Chris Jordan are almost a certainty, but who else? Mark Wood? Wickets vs Economy – that is the question.
  • All-rounders will be key. If Moeen Ali, Sam Curran, and Ben Stokes make the XI and are fit enough to bowl, the balance will be handy
  • The Currans make things happen but only one might make the XI

SA: Bowlers for the Win

  • If Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje can repeat their heroics from the IPL, they will be a handful
  • Phelukwayo will be hold the key to South Africa’s success as the key all-rounder in the side
  • Shamsi’s destructive spin in the middle overs give SA the edge
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The Broken Dream

Eng: Joe Root and Moeen Ali

  • Moeen Ali has committed to all formats in the final leg of his career but how many chances does he have left in him?
  • Joe Root is massively underrated in T20 cricket. His contributions in the 2016 T20 World Cup were monumental, but he has been selected only for the ODI side, not the T20 side.
  • Will Reece Topley make a comeback?

SA: Is Dale Steyn’s international career over?

  • After having a poor IPL, it seems that Dale Steyn’s international career has finally come to an end.
  • Will Janneman Malan get to showcase his talent?

Prediction

Previous Battle

Last time England toured South Africa in February 2020 (pre-COVID times), it was a close 2-1 contest in England’s favor. The margins of victory?

  • SA won by 1 run, Eng won by 2 runs, and Eng won with 5 balls to spare.
  • The scores? 177 vs 176, 204 vs 202, 222 vs 226

If this series is going to be anywhere close, it is going to be a cracker of a contest!

Verdict: 0-3 South Africa

England definitely have better resources and will be a threat at the T20 World Cup next year, but 3-match series might not be enough time to find a settled line up. South Africa at home with a clearer batting line up and in-form bowling attack can spring a surprise.

I think South Africa will spice things up and win 3-0 due to the momentum if they start on a good note.

By the time the ODI series gets around, England will have an edge. Whatever ends up happening, this is a series that is going to have high-scoring close contests.

My Starting XI:

These are my starting XI for the first T20I (assuming everyone is available in terms of COVID and injuries).

Eng:

Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler (WK), Dawid Malan, Eoin Morgan*, Ben Stokes, Sam Billings, Sam Curran, Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Adil Rashid, Chris Jordan

SA:

Quinton de Kock * (WK), Temba Bavuma, Faf du Plessis, Rassie Van der Dussen, Heinrich Klassen, David Miller, Andile Phelukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Lungi Ngidi, Tabraiz Shamsi

*captain

The Squads

These are the other options in the squads.

Eng: Tom Curran, Jason Roy, Reece Topley, Mark Wood

SA: Junior Dala, Bjorn Fortuin, Beuran Hendricks, Reeza Hendricks, George Linde, Keshav Maharaj, Janneman Malan, Dwaine Pretorius, Lutho Simpala, JJ Smuts, Glenton Stuurman, Pite von Biljon, Kyle Verreynne

Image Courtesy: Newlands, Cape Town – PaddyBriggs at English Wikipedia Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons