Two of the dominant sides in the shortest format – New Zealand and West Indies – would be locking horns with each other in 3-match series with the first encounter all set to take place on November 27 at Eden Park. Although the Kiwis have been dominant on 7 out of 12 occasions and this time they have the home advantage in their favor, one mustn’t make the grave mistake of undermining the Caribbeans considering it takes the two-time T20 champions just a few deliveries to bounce back into the game and register a triumph.
Both sides have some of the biggest names in T20 cricket which makes the contest all the more interesting for the fans across the globe.
Here are the top 7 players to watch out for in New Zealand vs West Indies T20I series –
The Caribbean cricketer has been on a roll both as a captain and a batsman in the T20s played this year. Firstly, he led the Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) to an unbeaten win in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) that took place amidst the pandemic wherein he amassed over 200 runs at a mind-boggling average and strike rate of 51.75 and 204.95 respectively. He then carried his form into IPL 2020, scored 268 runs in 12 innings, averaging 53.60 and at a striking rate of 190-plus. Pollard was a force to deal with in MI’s middle-order as he helped the franchise lift their 5th IPL trophy. With the grounds in New Zealand having a smaller boundary length, one could expect the 33-year-old to pose a threat to the Kiwis.
Create your own fantasy team now on the MPL Fantasy cricket app
Pooran has what it takes to end up as a T20 legend by the end of his career. At 25, the Trinidadian cricketer is among the most destructive players at present, and in IPL 2020, he gave a testimony of his swash-buckling prowess at the middle-order. Some of his top scores from this edition include – 44(27), 33(17), 77(37), 53(28), and 22(10), which forced the bowlers to toil hard in taking his wicket. It could be pretty daunting for the bowlers if Pooran carries his form into this series and Pollard alongside him in the middle-overs.
Swinging conditions would be a major blessing for a player of Cottrell’s caliber in the upcoming series, especially, in the field restrictions offered during the powerplay. The left-arm pacer has scalped 36 wickets in 27 matches, averages under 21, and enjoys an economy of 7.83. He could generate a decent amount of bounce from the pitches offered and at the same time get back onto the wicket-taking spree.
Kiwis would be heavily reliant on Guptill to capitalize on the powerplay and offer a blistering start to the innings. He is the highest run-getter at Eden Park with 571 runs including a hundred and 4 fifties at an average of 43.92 and a strike rate just under 170. Having struck three fifties at Bay Oval, the hard-hitting batsman is second in terms of most runs scored at the venue and although he hasn’t had many memorable performances this year, things could prove to be better for Guptill in the much-coveted encounters.
Ross Taylor has emerged as one of the most bankable Kiwi cricketers in the limited-overs in the last few years. The home series against India played earlier this year witnessed the 36-year-old take on the rival attack and dominate them across all corners of the stadium. Averaging 41.50 and two fifty-plus to his name, Taylor piled 166 runs in 5 matches at a healthy strike rate of over 130. He has been a part of 100 T20Is and being the most experienced campaigner in the present lineup, he would be entrusted the task of anchoring and finishing off the innings.
The leggie is difficult to play amidst the home conditions. He has been an ace in bowling those googlies and has managed to grab 18 wickets in total in the matches played at Eden Park and Bay Oval, with a powerful performance in the latter venue where his average and economy are under 20.00 and 8.00 respectively.
With Kane Williamson being rested for the shortest format, the onus would be on Tim Southee to get their side past the victory limits and improve the win percentage as the skipper for the Kiwi unit. Having grabbed 14 wickets at Eden Park and a five-wicket haul to his name, the right-arm medium pacer would aim to get the new ball bowling from the very delivery and trouble the Caribbean batters in establishing a stronghold.