Irfan Pathan in action against New Zealand at The Wanderers during the ICC World Twenty20 2007 in Johannesburg. (Photo courtesy: Getty Images)
Irfan Pathan in action against New Zealand at The Wanderers during the ICC World Twenty20 2007 in Johannesburg. (Photo courtesy: Getty Images)

The main round of ICC T20 World Cup 2016 starts Tuesday, March 15 at Nagpur with hosts India taking on New Zealand in the opening match. India enters the tournament as the No. 1 ranked side in T20I format and of course they are the favourites to win the trophy but New Zealand are a side they have not defeated in this format. Even when India won the inaugural edition of the tournament, it was New Zealand who beat them in a second round game. Despite Brendon McCullum’s retirement, New Zealand are among the favourites. Ahead of this crucial clash, Suvajit Mustafi looks at the four T20Is these two sides have played against each other. Full Cricket Scorecard: India vs New Zealand, ICC World T20 2016, Match 13 at Nagpur

1. ICC World T20 2007, Super 8 match at Johannesburg: Batting greats Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid had pulled out from the tournament as they felt T20 was a format for young legs, thus a young Indian side under a new captain MS Dhoni was sent to South Africa to compete. It is another story that the side went on to create history by winning the tournament but the start was a bit shaky. India’s match against Scotland was washed out and they just managed to beat Pakistan in a thrilling bowl-out tiebreaker.

They played New Zealand in their first game of Super 8. India chose to field first. Breezy knocks from McCullum, Craig McMillan and a late onslaught from Jacob Oram helped New Zealand to a massive 190. India were up for the chase. By the time, opener Sehwag got out, India had 76 on the board in the sixth over. India could not capitalise on the start and Daniel Vettori ran through the Indian middle order. In fact, he proved to be the differentiator between the two sides. He bowled his quota of four overs, gave away 20 and dismissed Gautam Gambhir, Robin Uthappa, Dinesh Karthik and Irfan Pathan. India fell 10 short of the Kiwi total. ALSO READ: VVS Laxman: Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli leading India’s T20I resurgence

Brief scores:

 New Zealand 190 in 20 overs (Brendon McCullum 45, Craig McMillan 44, Jacob Oram 35; RP Singh 2 for 29, Harbhajan Singh 2 for 24) beat India 180 for 9 in 20 overs Gautam Gambhir 51, Virender Sehwag 40; Daniel Vettori 4 for 20) by 10 runs.

2. India tour of New Zealand 2008-09, 1st T20I at Christchurch: India’s tour of New Zealand in 2009 began with a T20I series. It was a good tour for India as they managed to beat the Kiwis in the ODI and Test series but once again the hosts outplayed India in the shortest format. New Zealand put India in after winning the toss and the visitors responded with 162. Suresh Raina was the star with an unbeaten 63.

Ishant Sharma managed to dismiss Jesse Ryder with his first ball but New Zealand comfortably chased down the total in the 19th over. It was a combined team effort and it was McCullum’s patient fifty that guided them home. ALSO READ: India team in ICC T20 World Cup 2016, Preview: Hosts look for 2007 encore

Brief scores:

India 162 for 8 in 20 overs (Virender Sehwag 26, Suresh Raina 61*; Ian Butler 2 for 29) lost to New Zealand 166 for 3 in 18.5 overs (Brendon McCullum 56*, Martin Guptill 41, Ross Taylor 31, Jacob Oram 29; Zaheer Khan 1 for 20, Harbhajan Singh 1 for 19) by 7 wickets.

3. India tour of New Zealand 2008-09, 2nd T20I at Christchurch: Two days later, the sides clashed for the second game at Wellington. Once again, India were put in to bat and this time they managed 149 courtesy Yuvraj Singh’s fifty. Indian bowlers did not give away easy runs but New Zealand batsmen led by McCullum held the fort.

The hosts needed 41 from five overs with eight wickets in hand. Yuvraj and Zaheer Khan gave away six and seven runs respectively from their overs. The following over from Irfan cost only five and he picked up the key wickets of Taylor and Oram. With 23 required from two and a new batsman at crease, New Zealand were in a spot of bother.

New Zealand required 12 from the last over with the McCullum brothers at crease. First three balls from Irfan cost only three but most importantly Brendon was on strike. 9 from 3 and the batsman swung over midwicket for a four, the next ball was scooped over the bowler for another boundary. One from one was not going to be difficult and though it looked Rohit had almost taken a catch; it was a single in the end. Brendon McCullum had done it again and New Zealand had taken the series 2-0. ALSO READ: New Zealand team in ICC T20 World Cup 2016, Preview: Young unit look to leave a mark

Brief scores:

India 149 for 6 in 20 overs (Yuvraj Singh 50; Iain O’Brien 2 for 30) lost to New Zealand 150 for 5 in 20 overs (Brendon McCullum 69*; Irfan Pathan 2 for 41) by 5 wickets

Brendon McCullum and Nathan McCullum © Getty Images
Brendon McCullum and Nathan McCullum © Getty Images

4. New Zealand tour India 2012, 2nd T20I at Chennai: The first T20I was a washout without a ball being bowled so this was the series decider. All eyes were on Yuvraj who was making a return to international cricket post a traumatic spell with cancer. India put New Zealand in to bat and once again became a victim of McCullum classic. This time, batting at No. 3, McCullum blazed 91 from 55 balls as New Zealand finished with 167.

Virat Kohli had set up the chase brilliantly with his 41-ball 70 and was well supported by Raina and Yuvraj. By the time Kohli was dismissed, India needed just 48 from 40 balls and world cricket’s best finisher Dhoni had walked out. The match took a strange course from thereon. Dhoni later explained that the wicket got too slow. Both Dhoni and Yuvraj stayed till the end but could not finish it. With six needed from three balls, Yuvraj was cleaned up by James Franklin. India lost by a run and Dhoni remained not out 22 from 23 balls.

Brief scores:

 New Zealand 167 for 5 in 20 overs ([Brendon McCullum 91; Irfan Pathan 4-0-31-3] beat India 166 for 4 in 20 overs (Virat Kohli 70, Yuvraj Singh 34 ; Kyle Mills 2 for 17, James Franklin 2 for 26) by 1 run.

McCullum enroute to another match defining knock at Chennai. (Photo courtesy: Getty Images)
Brendon McCullum steers the ball on the leg side (Photo courtesy: Getty Images)

India vs New Zealand, T20Is, Stat Nugget:

Most Runs

Brendon McCullum (NZ): 261 runs (4 matches)

Ross Taylor (NZ): 94 runs (4 matches)

Virender Sehwag (Ind): 90 runs (3 matches)

Yuvraj Singh (Ind): 90 runs (3 matches)

Highest Scores

91 by Brendon McCullum at Chennai, 2012

70 by Virat Kohli at Chennai, 2012

69*by Brendon McCullum at Wellington, 2009

61* by Suresh Raina at Christchurch, 2009

Most wickets

Daniel Vettori (NZ): 6 wickets (4 matches)

Irfan Pathan (Ind): 5 wickets (4 matches)

Harbhajan Singh (Ind): 4 wickets (3 matches)

Iain O’Brien (NZ): 4 wickets (2 matches)

Ian Butler (NZ): 4 wickets (2 matches)

Best bowling

Daniel Vettori 4-0-20-4 at Johannesburg, 2007

Irfan Pathan 4-0-31-3 at Chennai, 2012

Most catches

3 by Daniel Vettori

This article first appeared in Criclife

(Suvajit Mustafi consumes cricket for lunch, fiction for dinner and munches numerous other snacks throughout the day. Yes, a jack of several trades, all Suvajit dreamt of was being India’s World Cup winning skipper but ended up being a sports writer, author, screenwriter, director, copywriter, graphic designer, sports marketer , strategist, entrepreneur,  philosopher and traveller. Donning so many hats, it’s cricket which gives him the ultimate high and where he finds solace. He can be followed at @RibsGully and rivu7)