Updated: January 28, 2020 5:27:44 pm
Virat Kohli and co. would look to carry forward the winning momentum and seal India’s maiden T20I series win in New Zealand, while the hosts would look for a turnaround in the third encounter of the ongoing five-match series at Seddon Park in Hamilton.
Riding on some clinical batting show by opener KL Rahul and middle-order batsman Shreyas Iyer, the Men In Blue secured two consecutive wins and are now just one win away from bagging the series.
This is a feat that the Men In Blue failed to achieve on two previous occasions. New Zealand had completed a clean sweep over MS Dhoni-led Indian unit back in 2008-09, while Kohli & co. went down 2-1 in a three-match series, held last year.
Focus on World T20s
After a heartbreaking exit from the ICC World Cup back in July last year, the Men In Blue have shown some ruthless character 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 team management would certainly be happy with how things have turned for the Men In Blue. 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.
Meanwhile, Rishabh Pant’s dubious run both behind the stumps and with the bat has come to an end 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 also would look to get some runs before he makes 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, in particular, 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 hold 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: 12.30pm IST
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