Hardik Pandya led team India get traditional Powhiri welcome to Tauranga ahead of 2nd T20I vs New Zealand. See photos | Cricket news

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With the first T20I between India and New Zealand being abandoned without a single bowl being bowled due to rain in Wellington, the focus has shifted to the second game of the three-game series at Mount Maunganui. The team, led by Hardik Pandya, reached Tauranga on Saturday and upon their arrival, the team was welcomed with a ‘powhiri’. The whole Indian contingent seemed to be enjoying themselves, everyone was in good spirits.

A ‘powhiri’ is a Maori welcoming ceremony with speeches, cultural performances, singing and finally the hongi. It is used to welcome guests to a marae or during other ceremonies.

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For most non-Maori speakers, an aggressive challenge from the visitor takes place at the beginning of the ceremony and is the most spectacular part of powhiri.

The first T20 International of the three-match series between India and New Zealand was called off with no ball bowled as incessant rain made the ground unplayable, in Wellington on Friday. India will play two more T20Is followed by three ODIs as part of their New Zealand tour.

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Both teams had entered following their exit from the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup in Australia. While India lost to eventual champions England, New Zealand were beaten by Pakistan.

In the absence of regular skipper Rohit Sharma, Prime Minister all-rounder Hardik Pandya leads the Indian T20 side with wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant as his deputy.

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Besides Rohit, star hitter Virat Kohli and opener KL Rahul also got rest for the tour.

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The ongoing series between India and New Zealand will be broadcast live on Amazon Prime Video, with broadcast for the T20Is starting at 11am.

With PTI inputs

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