Aakash Chopra has picked his preferred playing XI for New Zealand ahead of their T20 World Cup 2021 match against India on Sunday.
The cricketer-turned-commentator made the selection in a video on his YouTube channel. While picking the Kane Williamson-led team’s batting order, he analyzed that New Zealand has a glut of top-order batters which deprives their middle order of any firepower.
Aakash Chopra said:
“You might think that I have picked too many top-order batters but they don’t have any other option… Martin Guptill will open because he always has, you want to open with Daryl Mitchell so be it. [But] Devon Conway is also a top-order batter na? He bats in the top-three. Tim Seifert is a T20 opener and doesn’t have a reputation in down the order. So there aren’t any explosive batters left down the order. Glenn Phillips has a big name but he hasn’t come to the party yet. Dubai might suit him but if you change your pace, you can restrict him too. That is the problem I see in this team.”
Scrutinizing the bowling department, Aakash Chopra said that without the injured Lockie Ferguson, New Zealand might be in trouble. He argued that while Tim Southee is generally an expensive bowler, India won’t have many issues tackling spinners Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi. He said:
“Lockie Ferguson is not available, has been ruled out of the tournament. I feel a crucial component of this team has been taken away… Trent Boult is a danger but Tim Southee is generally very expensive. India will also be well equipped against Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi.”
While India is a much better team of spin since the addition of KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya in the batting order, they will still have to be wary of New Zealand’s attack. In the end, it was Santner’s 4/11 and Sodhi’s 3/18 that bowled MS Dhoni’s men out for just 79 in the 2016 T20 World Cup.
Aakash Chopra’s playing XI for New Zealand
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Full 11: Daryl Mitchell, Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson (C), Devon Conway, Glenn Phillips, Tim Seifert (WK), James Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi.