An India versus New Zealand clash does not ring as loud a bell for cricket fans as it does for an India-Pakistan or an India-Australia clash. But the Kiwis have challenged India in World Cups over the last five decades.
It will be a challenging task for Virat Kohli and Co. on Sunday to overcome the Black Caps, open its account and avoid its ICC T20 World Cup campaign from derailing.
Ever since the inaugural men’s World Cup in 1975, India has managed to beat New Zealand only three times in eight meetings, with the last victory being in 2003. The only time the two teams met since then, in the World Cup 2019 semifinal, Kane Williamson’s wily pacers floored the India batters.
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As for the T20 World Cup – erstwhile World Twenty20 – the two teams have met only twice. Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men first faltered in the inaugural edition in South Africa and repeated the same result during the last edition on home soil in 2016.
New Zealand has a habit of optimising its potential in World Cups. Despite its loss to Pakistan, the Kiwis will remain a threat to India.
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India has been doing its bit to enhance the team bonding as the players were busy in the Indian Premier League franchises before the ICC showpiece. Having trained at the ICC Academy just once since their loss to Pakistan on Sunday, the cricketers played beach volleyball on Friday at its plush resort.
But more than getting their volleys together, India will be hoping to get its combination right and back the unit to fire on all cylinders. It remains to be seen if Kohli’s cavaliers can take a cue out of Pakistan and register their first win against New Zealand in a T20 World Cup match.
India vs New Zealand in ODI World Cups
India vs New Zealand in World Twenty20
September 2007, lost by 10 runs in Johannesburg