A win in the third T20 International at Seddon Park in Hamilton will lead India to its maiden T20I series win in New Zealand. The Kiwis, on the other hand, need a turnaround to stay alive in the ongoing five-match series.
Riding on a clinical batting display by opener KL Rahul and middle-order batsman Shreyas Iyer, the Men In Blue registered consecutive wins and are now just one victory away from a rare series win. This is a feat that they tried to achieve but failed on two previous occasions. In 2008-09, New Zealand had completed a clean sweep over MS Dhoni-led India while Kohli boys went down 2-1 in a three-match series, held last year.
Focus on World T20s
After the heartbreak in the ICC World Cup in July last year, India has been ruthless and are yet to lose a single tournament post the showpiece event.
However, the team won’t bother to look at the past records and would take all these matches as an opportunity to build a formidable squad for the T20I World Cup, which is slated to be held later this year in Australia.
If we look into this aspect then the think tank would certainly be happy with how things have turned out so far. The biggest worry of choosing the appropriate candidate for the much-debated No. 4 spot finally seems sorted with Iyer stepping up for the case.
Rishabh Pant’s dubious run both behind the stumps and with the bat has come to a grinding halt with Rahul filling in perfectly for him.
No tweak in India’s Playing XI
— BCCI (@BCCI) January 28, 2020
A change in India’s playing XI is highly unlikely if we keep the current form into consideration, something that even skipper Kohli suggested during the post-match ceremony after the second encounter in Auckland.
Woes mounting on New Zealand
For New Zealand, the encounter in Hamilton will be the last opportunity to get their combination right. Colin de Grandhomme is one batsman who needs some runs under his belt and it is likely he could make way for Tom Bruce for the final two T20Is. Grandhomme, who is playing strictly as a batsman in this series, has failed miserably at his job, scoring 0 and 3 in the first two matches.
While New Zealand’s bowling unit has done fairly well in the series, their greater worry has been contending with the Indian bowlers, particularly, Jasprit Bumrah who has regained much of his pre-injury rhythm. In both matches, the Kiwis were unable to get him away, whether at the start or during the death overs.
India also used this factor as an advantage by mixing things up well in the second T20I and holding Bumrah back until later in the powerplay.
New Zealand’s impressive run at Seddon Park
New Zealand have had a poor run at Eden Park off late, but their record at Seddon Park holds in good stead. They have won seven out of nine T20Is played at this venue, and will be hoping to stop India from taking an unassailable lead in the series.
India: Virat Kohli (capt), Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul (wk), Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant, Sanju Samson, Shreyas Iyer, Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur, Navdeep Saini, Washington Sundar.
New Zealand: Kane Williamson (capt), Martin Guptill, Ross Taylor, Scott Kuggeleijn, Colin Munro, Colin de Grandhomme, Tom Bruce, Daryl Mitchell, Mitchell Santner, Tim Seifert (wk), Hamish Bennett, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Blair Tickner.
Match starts at 12.30 pm IST
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