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India vs New Zealand 2021: Best Playing 11 for first T20I

India vs New Zealand 2021 – Rohit Sharma to lead as we look at the best predicted playing 11 for the first T20I.

After a couple of months of hectic schedule that consisted of IPL 2021 and T20 World Cup 2021, Team India and New Zealand would be starting their post World Cup campaign with yet another bilateral T20I series. This is the sixth time both the teams would be playing the T20I series against each other.

India would be starting a new era with the T20I series with Rohit Sharma taking the reign ahead from Virat Kohli. KL Rahul is supposedly his deputy going forward. With just 1 year left for the next T20 World Cup, this would be Rohit Sharma’s big assignment as a captain. Not that he hasn’t captained before, but a great start would be ideal for his captaincy. 

Key Stats:

Historically, New Zealand have won the series thrice. Whereas India have won the series twice. Overall, India and New Zealand have played 17 T20Is against each other. While New Zealand have won 9 times, India have won 8 times including the two super over victories. However, India are yet to win a T20I against New Zealand in ICC tournaments. 

Colin Munro is the leading run-scorer between both teams with 426 runs to his name from 12 innings. Kane Williamson is second-placed with 358 runs from 12 innings. Whereas Rohit Sharma is third-placed with 352 runs from 14 innings. Ish Sodhi is the leading wicket-taker with 19 wickets from 13 innings. Jasprit Bumrah and Mitchell Santner are second and third with 12 wickets each from 10 and 13 innings respectively. 

Team India start as favorites for the series and for the first game with odds in their favor. According to Betway, the odds for Team India in this match are 1/2. Whereas for New Zealand, the odds are 6/4. So, as we wait for the match to begin, let’s look at India vs New Zealand best predicted playing 11 for the first T20I. 

India vs NZ 2021 – Official T20I Series Squad for Team India 

Batsmen: Ishan Kishan (WK), KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant (WK), Rohit Sharma, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shreyas Iyer & Suryakumar Yadav

All-rounders: Axar Patel & Venkatesh Iyer

Bowlers: Avesh Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Harshal Patel, Mohammed Siraj, Ravichandran Ashwin & Yuzvendra Chahal

Coach: Rahul Dravid // Captain: Rohit Sharma // Vice-captain: KL Rahul

Match Details:

Tournament: New Zealand Tour of India 2021

Type: T20I Series

Where: Jaipur

When: November 17, 7 pm IST.

Openers: KL Rahul & Rohit Sharma

Team India shall open with their regular captaincy and the opening duo of Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul for the first T20I. Not only are they Team India’s first-choice openers, but also one of the best opening pair in the world. Team India does have Ishan Kishan and Ruturaj Gaikwad as an alternative, but they would most-likely play the third T20I if the series results go in their favor. 

Middle-order: Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant & Suryakumar Yadav

With Virat Kohli not being there, this would be an ideal opportunity for Shreyas Iyer to make a mark in the middle order. It would be interesting to see what number Shreyas Iyer plays at. Ideally, number 3 would be the right position for him, but depending on the match situation, Rishabh Pant or Suryakumar Yadav may be promoted up the order. 

All-rounders: Venkatesh Iyer & Axar Patel

The absence of Hardik Pandya gives a golden opportunity for Venkatesh Iyer to not only be an alternative for Hardik but also push his side as the first-choice all-rounder for Team India. He did exceptionally well in IPL 2021, and would like to continue his form for T20Is too. Besides having a great temperament in batting, Venkatesh is a decent medium pacer. 

In the form of Axar Patel, Team India have their second and only other all-rounder in the squad. Ideally, Team India could play Ashwin and Harshal at 6 and 7 for the lower order. But they might not want to make the lower order fragile, so Axar at 7 may get a go-ahead to start with. Besides, he has been performing really well in IPL off late.  

Pacers: Bhuvneshwar Kumar & Mohammed Siraj

The biggest headache for Team India shall be the selection of pacers. India have as many as 5 options with them in the form of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Mohammed Siraj, Harshal Patel, and Avesh Khan. Team India can look to play either 3 pacers + Venkatesh Iyer or 2 pacers + V Iyer. Either one is fine, but with India being the location,  2 pacers + V Iyer seems a right bet.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Deepak Chahar are very similar bowlers, and may not play together. Of the two, Bhuvneshwar Kumar may be preferred first. With Bhuvu being one pacer, one of Mohammed Siraj or Avesh Khan can be the second pacer. Siraj is more experienced, so he should get a go-ahead initially. Had India played three pacers, a combination of Bhuvi, Harshal & Siraj would have been lethal. 

Spinners: Ravichandran Ashwin & Yuzvendra Chahal

Ravichandran Ashwin played as the first-choice spinner for Team India in the T20 World Cup 2021. He did well in the three matches he played, so he should continue to play against New Zealand too. For the last bowler spot, India can look to play one of Yuzvendra Chahal, Harshal Patel, or Avesh Khan. 

Considering the pitches assisting spinners more, Yuzvendra Chahal is the right bet. He was missed badly in the T20 World Cup, and India may not want to make the same mistake again. Anyway, the third pacer option can be taken care by Venkatesh Iyer, if needed.  

So, that completes the best predicted playing 11 for Team India for the first T20I vs New Zealand. The batting looks sorted, but it is the bowling combination that Rohit and Co. will have to think of. 

India vs NZ 2021 – 1st T20I Predicted Playing 11 for Team India:

Rohit Sharma (C), KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (WK), Venkatesh Iyer, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Siraj & Yuzvendra Chahal.  

Thanks for reading! What’s your predicted playing 11 for India vs New Zealand 2021 first T20I? Please email your thoughts to

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