Shardul Thakur to replace Hardik Pandya? India's predicted playing XI for New Zealand clash in T20 WC 2021

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Updated: Oct 31, 2021, 01:28 PM IST


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Will Shardul Thakur make the cut in the playing XI in place of Hardik Pandya or Bhuvneshwar Kumar? Predicting India's playing XI for the all-important clash against New Zealand in T20 World Cup 2021.

India will lock horns with New Zealand in a must-win Super 12 clash at the T20 World Cup 2021 on Sunday (October 31). India lost their opening game against arch-rivals Pakistan by ten wickets which has done significant damage to their chances of making it to the top four as their net run rate has gone for a toss after the massive defeat.

A loss against New Zealand can prove fatal to India's chances of qualifying for the semi-finals. The Virat Kohli-led side will have their task cut out against New Zealand, who have never lost against India in a T20 World Cup match so far. New Zealand have won on both meetings against the Men in Blue in the history of the T20 World Cup.

India will be looking to field the best possible playing XI in the game which is being labelled as the 'virtual quarterfinal'. While India started their campaign with a defeat against Pakistan, New Zealand too suffered the same fate and lost their opening game against the Babar Azam-led side by five wickets.

India will be hoping to get the combination right this time around after the bowlers failed to pick up a single wicket in the game against Pakistan. The likes of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami all went wicket-less as Pakistan chased down 152 runs with all ten wickets remaining.

Many have called for the inclusion of Shardul Thakur in the squad in place of an out-of-form Hardik Pandya, who has struggled with the bat and has not bowled yet. Pandya has not been bowling due to back issues but was seen having a go with the ball in the nets a few days back. He might bowl a couple of over against the Kiwis if asked to do so.

Shardul is coming off a great season with Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in IPL 2021 where he picked up 21 wickets, however, he is unlikely to make the cut as the team management is reportedly keen on having Pandya as a finisher in the team. There were also reports that Shardul could have replaced senior pacer Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, who has been struggling with his form too.

However, the team management is expected to repose their trust in Bhuvneshwar for the New Zealand game and expect the senior pace to produce a better show on Sunday. India are likely to field the same XI which played against Pakistan, for the game against New Zealand. In case the team wants, they might play an extra spinner in form of R Ashwin or Rahul Chahar in place of a fast bowler.

India's predicted playing XI for New Zealand clash in T20 World Cup 2021:

KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Varun Chakravarthy, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami