The superb build-up run has made India the clear favorites for an unprecedented second World T20 title but the in-form hosts will have to guard against complacency when they take on a spirited New Zealand in their campaign opener here tomorrow. No host country has won the T20 world title in the last five editions and none has repeated a title triumph, but India’s settled combination, led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni, and familiarity with the conditions make them the odds-on favorites to script history.
This match is all about that statement-making and we are here for the title showing. India did that in the Asia Cup T20 opener, with a brilliant victory over Bangladesh, scoring 166 runs on a wicket where 130 would have been really competitive. Against New Zealand, it might all come down to who bats better. New Zealand have a ridiculously-powerful batting lineup, and that is without the now-retired Brendon McCullum. India will run into a Martin Guptill keen to show the IPL franchises what they missed out on, while they have plenty of strength in depth in that batting as well.
India do have the wherewithal and the personnel to script history and a win in tomorrow’s opening game at the VCA stadium in Jamtha would give them the ideal momentum to take on the challenges ahead head-on. Virat Kohli has been in terrific form, in the last two months. On top of his game, the Test skipper has made four half-centuries in seven innings, and two other scores in the 40s, besides leading four successful run-chases.