New Zealand celebrate © Getty Images
New Zealand could  © Getty Images

New Zealand will go up against India in the first match of the T20 World Cup 2016 Super 10 stage on March 15 at Nagpur. The Black Caps pose as a ferocious side even without Brendon McCullum, who recently retired. Their batting clicked in the warm-up match against Sri Lanka, with most of the batsmen manhandling the Sri Lankan bowlers and hitting boundaries as if it were child’s play. But the pressure of a World Cup is much more compared to warm-up matches. New Zealand will be looking to win their first ever ICC World Cup in any format. Live Cricket Scorecard: India vs New Zealand, ICC World T20 2016, Match 13 at Nagpur

So far, New Zealand have not failed to impress, with their batting and bowling performing decently in spite of losing to England, where they tested their bench strength. They are undoubtedly one of the toughest contenders in the tournament, and watching them play against the hosts will be a match to look out for. There have been plenty of positives for the Kiwis going into the tournament. Here are five reasons they can beat India. READ: India vs New Zealand, ICC World T20 2016, Match 13 at Nagpur, Preview: Kiwis can build on spotless record against hosts

1. The Black Caps have a potent pace attack: Indian batsmen have usually struggled a bit against quality pace bowling. It took a Virat Kohli master class to escape Mohammad Aamer’s heroics in a low-scoring Asia Cup fixture, and the only T20I India have lost this year was against Sri Lanka on a spiteful pitch at Pune when the Sri Lankan pacers made the ball seam and swing. Trent Boult is the in-form bowler for the Black Caps, who can take wickets and also tie down the opposition. READ: VVS Laxman: Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli leading India’s T20I resurgence

Adam Milne is one of the fastest bowlers around, and proved himself against an inexperienced Sri Lankan side late last year. Tim Southee in the most experienced pacer in the side, but looks out of touch lately. However, he has a knack of breaking partnerships in crucial stages of the game and he has traditionally done well in India. Corey Anderson also chips in with few overs, and is a known wicket-taker. Then there is Mitchell McClenaghan who can wreck havoc on his day. READ: ICC World T20 2016: Yuvraj’s 6 sixes, India’s victory, other such iconic moments from previous editions

2. Destructive batting line up: Almost every batsman in the New Zeland line-up is capable of hitting big sixes and maintaining a good strike rate. The warm-up matches showed what they are capable of pulling off. Martin Guptill and skipper Kane Williamson make for an ideal opening pair with a mix of class and power hitting. Colin Munro recently scored a 14-ball 50, and was in superb form even in the warm-up match, hitting four consecutive sixes of Dasun Shanaka. READ: India team in ICC T20 World Cup 2016, Preview: Hosts look for 2007 encore

Anderson has scored the second-fastest ton in ODIs, and has IPL experience as well. Grant Elliot is a cool customer who can play sensibly in crunch situations and then go for the kill along with the hard hitters like Luke Ronchi and Mitchell Santner. There is a doubt over the inclusion of veteran Ross Taylor, who is not yet completely fit. Henry Nicholls, who has impressed in ODIs and Tests recently, could take his spot in the line-up if needed. READ: New Zealand team in ICC T20 World Cup 2016, Preview: Young unit look to leave a mark

3. Exceptional fielding unit: The Black Caps have always maintained the reputation of being a dedicated fielding unit, agile and accurate on the field. Taking cheeky singles and pushing the fielders for a couple of runs might not be a good idea against them. The likes of Williamson, Guptill, and Boult are phenomenal fielders, and the rest of the team backs them up as well.

4. Spin trio: Finding a replacement for the legendary Daniel Vettori has been a tedious task for New Zealand. With Nathan McCullum being on his last legs, their spin department has not been at its best. However, Ish Sodhi adds some much-needed variety to their bowling attack. He looked promising in the warm-up matches, picking up wickets at regular intervals and refraining from giving runs. Meanwhile, Santner has been proving himself a potential successor to Vettori, bowling tight left-arm spin and also bolstering the batting.

5. Record against India: New Zealand have a flawless record against India in the T20Is. They have won four out of five matches against India, with one ending up with no result due to weather conditions. They would like to keep it that way and start off the campaign beating the hosts.

(Arun Rawal is a reporter at CricketCountry)