Indian captain Virat Kohli won the toss and elected to bowl first in the T20I series opener against New Zealand Eden Park, Auckland on Friday.

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While India had confirmed KL Rahul will keep wickets, the playing XI does not feature eitherSanju Samson nor Rishabh Pant as a specialist batsman. For New Zealand, Hamish Bennett makes in T20I debut.

Williamson: It was a 50-50 decision with the track being used. We would want to get some runs on the board first and then defend it. The two guys missing out are Mitchell and Kuggeleijn. So we have two seamers, de Grandhomme. It’s a fantastic opportunity against one of the best sides, if not the best sides. It’s a chance for us to become a better side and execute our plans.

Kohli: We’re gonna have a bowl first. Looks a nice pitch to bat on. It might be hard to pick the ball up initially due to twilight. We’re pretty much fine (from the travel) but we’re fine now. We’ve played 50-over cricket (heading to this series) and are ready for T20 cricket. The five guys not playing are Kuldeep Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Sanju Samson. The character to bounce back from difficult situations gives


India (Playing XI): Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul (WK), Virat Kohli (C), Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammed Shami

New Zealand (Playing XI): Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Kane Williamson (C), Tim Seifert (WK), Ross Taylor, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Blair Tickner, Hamish Bennett