India will take on New Zealand in their second match of the T20 World Cup on Sunday. However, following the humiliating 10-wicket loss to Pakistan in the opening encounter, it has essentially become a knockout fixture. Whoever wins the game will be the favourites to make it out of the group from the second position given that they manage to play well in the remaining matches as well.
History will be on New Zealand's side ahead of Sunday's do-or-die encounter. They will have the confidence knowing India hasn't been able to defeat them in ICC events since 2003. The Blackcaps also have an 8-6 head-to-head win record against India in T20Is.
Which three New Zealand players could end up making life miserable for the Men in Blue? We discuss below:
3. Ish Sodhi
When it comes to India vs New Zealand fixtures in T20I cricket, nobody has taken more wickets than Ish Sodhi. The Kiwi cricketer of Indian origin has struck 17 times in 12 games and his four overs in the middle is expected to have a major influence on the rest of the match. Despite losing quick wickets to Shaheen Afridi in the game against Pakistan, India struggled to deal with the spinners in the middle overs and didn't get enough runs on board.
Sodhi looked impressive in the game against Pakistan and managed to outfox in-form Mohammad Rizwan and Fakhar Zaman. He has picked up 75 wickets in 58 T20Is at a strike rate of 16. Captain Virat Kohli's struggles against left-arm spin have been well documented over the last couple of years and Sodhi will be hoping to win this matchup.
2. Trent Boult
Before Shaheen Afridi ran through the opening order using his left-arm pace and lanky height, Trent Boult had already done the same in the semi-final of the 2019 World Cup, just like Mohammad Amir had done two years earlier in the ICC Champions Trophy Final in 2017. India's top-order has been prone to dramatic collapses when faced against left-arm pace and Shaheen Afridi's performance in the last match was the latest reminder.
Boult is also incredible in keeping it full and getting a late inswing on the ball which either traps batters for an LBW or ends up hitting their bails. He's done it several times before in the IPL as well for Mumbai Indians and on Sunday, Boult will try to repeat the same against his MI captain Rohit Sharma.
The dread regarding Trent Boult is real but captain Virat Kohli tried to downplay the factor in his press conference. "Obviously, he's (Boult) motivated to do what Shaheen did. We have to be motivated to counter that and try and put pressure on him and the other bowlers as well. That's basically the game anyway," said Kohli.
1. Kane Williamson
Kane Williamson is among the best batters in the world and just like his counterpart Virat Kohli, the New Zealand captain likes to lead from the front in high-pressure situations. The game against India is going to be virtually a knockout match and Williamson would like to have a major say in it.
Against Pakistan, the 31-year-old looked to be in sublime form but unfortunately got run out. On his day, few batters in the world can play shots as clean as him and find the gaps in the field with as much ease as Williamson does.
In the 2019 World Cup semi-final, Williamson put on an incredible resistance by scoring 67 runs and stitched a brilliant partnership with Ross Taylor. The two would combine once again to inflict misery on India in the World Test Championship Final held earlier this year.
With additional responsibility on Kane this time around in the absence of Ross Taylor, he will be hoping to deliver more strongly.