In-form India confident ahead of World T20 opener


Tournament favourites India are in understandably high spirits as they prepare to open the World Twenty20's Super 10 phase against New Zealand in Nagpur on Tuesday.

Following an initial qualifying phase from which Bangladesh and Afghanistan progressed, the leading nations in international cricket are set to begin their campaigns, with India seemingly the team to beat.

The hosts - winners of the inaugural World T20 in 2007 - have recorded series victories over Australia and Sri Lanka in 2016 and come into this event on the back of an unbeaten Asia Cup campaign.

"We are pretty confident with the way we've been playing," said star batsman Virat Kohli on Monday.

"The Asia Cup was good preparation for us, getting the feel of playing against the big teams, but this is going to be far more challenging. You have teams from all over the world competing and if you look at both of the groups the teams are very strong, very evenly matched.

"It's going to be tough but we would like to focus on our strengths. The opposition's [strengths] do not matter too much for us so much at this stage. Obviously we need to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the opposition players, but it's more to do with the way we have played and continue the same way and probably try to execute the same things that have brought us success."



With Asia Cup finalists Bangladesh having joined India, New Zealand, Australia and Pakistan, Group 2 of the Super 10 phase looks set to be fiercely competitive. Only two teams can progress to the semi-finals, so an early defeat could well prove costly.



India have won 10 of the 11 T20 internationals they have played this year. "We're taking some good momentum into the World Cup," said Kohli.



New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson is aware his side are likely to face trial by spin in Nagpur. "The pitch will be on the slow side and perhaps take a little turn," he said. "In Indian conditions we can expect spin to play a big part and it's important that we adjust our game accordingly."



- New Zealand have won all four of their previous completed T20I fixtures against India, twice when batting first and twice when chasing.

- England are the only team not to have won the opening game of a World T20 when hosting the competition.

- Kohli has scored 352 T20I runs at an average of 117 in 2016 so far and has passed 40 in eight of his 10 T20I innings since the 2014 World T20 final defeat to Sri Lanka.