After winning 10 of their last 11 T20 internationals, India are red-hot favourites for the World T20 and former batsman Virender Sehwag said last week he was “99 percent certain” they would become the first team to win the trophy for a second time.
India begin their campaign against a spirited New Zealand at Nagpur in the opening match of the tournament on Tuesday.
Here are five things that can help India beat New Zealand:
1. Winning momentum
India are on a roll having won 10 of the last 11 T20 internationals they have played. They have trounced Australia 3-0 in their own backyard, won 2-1 against Sri Lanka at home and lifted the Asia Cup trophy in Dhaka with five back-to-back wins in the tournament.
2. In-form batsmen
The Indian top three – Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli – have been in sparkling form. Kohli especially has made four half-centuries in seven innings, and two other scores in the 40s, besides leading four successful run-chases.
3. Home advantage
The host country has never won the World T20 title in the last five editions and none has repeated a title triumph, but India’s settled combination, current form under captain MS Dhoni’s leadership and familiarity with the conditions make them the favourites to script history.
4. Sharp fielders
The hosts can be ranked among the best fielding sides in the tournament, with the likes of Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Virat Kohli and Hardik Pandya saving at least 10-20 runs in the field in every match.
5. Rejuvenated bowlers
While young pacer Jasprit Bumrah has emerged as a promising talent, veteran pacer Ashish Nehra has found a rich vein of form late in his career. Spinners Ashwin and Jadeja will be difficult to tackle in home conditions and medium-pacer Hardik Pandya has provided Dhoni with flexibility.