India will play New Zealand in its second and final T20 World Cup 2022 warm-up match at the Gabba in Brisbane on Wednesday.
India had beaten Australia by six runs in its first warm-up fixture on Monday and will hope to keep the momentum going ahead of its campaign opener against archrival Pakistan on October 23.
Here is a look at three key player match-ups that could influence the practice game on Wednesday.
Mohammed Shami vs Kane Williamson
There were several positives for New Zealand despite its loss in the T20I tri-series final against Pakistan. Kane Williamson’s return to form with a 38-ball 58 in the final is a significant uplift for the side ahead of its 2022 T20 World Cup opener against Australia in Sydney on October 22.
In all T20 cricket since 2021, for which ball-by-ball data is available, Williamson has 1097 in 44 innings at a strike rate of 113.09 and an average of 33.24. Williamson’s underwhelming strike rate notwithstanding, the New Zealand skipper continues to be an important cog in the wheel. India could look to counter Williamson with Mohammed Shami, who has dismissed Williamson five times in T20s, conceding 70 runs in 53 balls.
Williamson is particularly vulnerable in the PowerPlay, where he strikes under 90 and averages below 25 since 2021. Meanwhile, Shami, who has replaced an injured Jasprit Bumrah in the squad, had not bowled all day in the first warm-up against Australia on Monday, having missed Indian T20 duty with an injury for a year. But he was called upon for the final over and delivered, defending 10 by picking three wickets. His face-off with Williamson will be important for the Kiwis.
Ish Sodhi vs Virat Kohli
At last T20 World Cup in the UAE, Virat Kohli had limped to nine off 16 balls before slog-sweeping Ish Sodhi straight to long-on. Kohli’s dismissal at the time set the tone for a dismal batting show from India in Dubai. Sodhi has dismissed Kohli three times in T20 cricket, giving away just 42 runs in 34 balls. Kohli has an impressive record against legbreak/legbreak googly, with 1514 runs in 151 innings at 137.26. He averages over 50 and has been out 30 times.
Trent Boult vs Rohit Sharma
Left-arm pacer Trent Boult has got Rohit Sharma out four times in all T20 cricket, going for 67 runs in 48 balls. The ball may swing more at the start of the match, which is when Boult could look to target Rohit, who has been out to left-arm pace 42 times in T20 cricket while averaging less than 26. The Gabba has large square and shorter straight boundaries, so once the ball stops swinging, Boult may look to bowl short and force Rohit to hit cross-batted shots.
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