New Zealand and West Indies play a three-match T20I series ahead of the Tests to mark the beginning of their preparations for the 2021 T20 World Cup in India. New Zealand are sixth in the ICC T20 team rankings while West Indies, the defending champions of the T20 World Cup, are placed ninth after some disastrous returns in recent times in the shortest format of the game.
Quite a few things have changed in both teams over the years in T20Is. While West Indies have struggled with player availability and finding the right balance between slogging and building an innings, New Zealand have chopped and changed their batting group quite a few times.
NZ vs WI recent record
The fortunes of the teams aren't too much in contrast in the last couple of years.
Since 2018, New Zealand have played 30 T20Is, winning just 10 and losing 16 of them. Interestingly, they have a penchant for ties (as if we didn't know that already) with three tied T20I games and one ending in no result in the last two years.
West Indies, on the other hand, have won just nine of their 32 T20Is since 2018. They have lost 21 matches in this time frame. All this while, they have some of their best players plying their trade in franchise leagues across the globe.
That said, West Indies come into this series with three successive wins in their last three T20I games. New Zealand, meanwhile, have tied three of their last six T20Is.
The biggest context for these sides is of course the T20 World Cup in India in 2021. The ideal time for preparation should be this and the mindset is reflected in the squads named by both sides.
New Zealand have added prolific domestic run-scorer, Devon Conway to their T20I setup. They also have Tim Seifert and Glenn Phillips in the setup while giving Kane Williamson and Trent Boult (certainties in their team for the big event) a break.
West Indies have rewarded good performers from the Caribbean Premier League with a cap for Kyle Mayers, and retaining Brandon King, Hayden Walsh Jnr and recalling Andre Fletcher to the side.
NZ vs WI head to head records
New Zealand and West Indies have played 13 T20Is against each other with New Zealand winning six and West Indies three. Interestingly, the teams have also been involved in three tied T20I games, including the first two T20Is between these teams in 2006 and 2008 respectively.
NZ vs WI probable XI
New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Glenn Phillips, Tim Seifert, Devon Conway, Ross Taylor, James Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Kyle Jamieson, Lockie Ferguson, Ish Sodhi
West Indies: Brandon King, Andre Fletcher, Shimron Hetmyer, Nicholas Pooran, Kieron Pollard, Rovman Powell, Fabian Allen, Keemo Paul, Hayden Walsh, Sheldon Cottrell, Oshane Thomas
Upcoming milestones and stats
- Ross Taylor has 1909 T20I runs and needs another 91 runs to reach the 2000 runs milestone. He will be third NZ player to the landmark.
- Martin Guptill has 47 catches in T20Is and needs 3 more to reach the 50 catches milestone. Only two fielders (other than wicket-keepers) have over 50 T20I catches
- Colin Munro has a strike-rate of 156.44 in T20Is, the highest for any player to have batted in 60 innings.
- Devon Conway, who qualified to play for New Zealand in 2020, top-scored for New Zealand in the Super Smash in 2019 and 2018.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Dibyangshu Sarkar