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India vs New Zealand: Visitors eye unassailable series lead in batting-friendly Hamilton

  • Can Kane Williamson's men hamper India's rampaging juggernaut, or will the tourists extend their dominance and gain series ascendancy?
Aryan Surana
Modified 28 Jan 2020, 14:58 IST

Shreyas Iyer hits the nets.
Shreyas Iyer hits the nets.

The mood's pretty jovial in India's camp. And why wouldn't it be? Virat Kohli's men are flying high after thrashing New Zealand in Auckland's double-header with great authority. Consequently, for India, the prospect of an unprecedented T20I series victory against the Kiwis on their home turf now seems within touching distance. The visitors would look forward to exerting their supremacy and create history as the bandwagon moves to Hamilton for the potential decider on Wednesday.

Experimentation has been the buzzword in India's campaign lately, but recent performances have helped the management discover the optimal team balance. KL Rahul assuming wicket-keeping duties allows India the luxury of playing Manish Pandey at number six, who's inclusion obviously bolsters the squad's composition.

Considering the ground dimensions and the opposition's strengths or weaknesses, India can easily hand-pick between their talented spin quartet. Shardul Thakur and Navdeep Saini, whenever thrust upon with the responsibility, have wonderfully complemented pace spearheads Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami, and deemed ready for gruelling assignments moving forward.

While India are ticking all the right boxes, the deflated Kiwis face a plethora of challenges. Openers Martin Guptill and Colin Munro have twice squandered promising starts and left the hosts yearning for momentum at halfway stage. Colin de Grandhomme's troubles versus spin are not unknown and Ravindra Jadeja has the flamboyant pinch-hitter on toast at the moment.

Their middle-order setup predominantly revolves around experienced campaigners Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor, both of whom will have to deliver the goods if New Zealand stand any chance of powering through the do-or-die contest.

Moreover, lacklustre bowling displays have exacerbated New Zealand's problems. The frontline speed merchants have rendered ineffective and failed to impart any pressure upfront. To make matter worse, spin twins Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi have leaked runs, dishing out charitable half-trackers galore.

It's New Zealand's moment of truth with the series on the line. Can Williamson's boys ignite the spark and hamper India's rampaging juggernaut, or will the tourists extend their dominance and gain series ascendancy? Hamilton with the answers.

Match Details: India vs New Zealand, 3rd T20I

Venue: Seddon Park, Hamilton

Date and Time: January 29, 12:30 PM IST

What to expect: Historically, Seddon Park's known for producing absolute belters. Expect an entertaining run-fest, though weather disruptions are presumed. Chasing targets is highly recommended given the dew factor and short boundaries.

Team News:

India: Virat Kohli might not want to tinker with the winning combination, however, given his mediocre outings, Thakur could pave way for quick Navdeep Saini. Apart from that, India are likely to go unchanged.

Probable XI: KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli (c), Shreyas Iyer, Shivam Dube, Manish Pandey, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Yuzvendra Chahal, Navdeep Saini/ Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah.

New Zealand: Despite consecutive losses, the Kiwis might bank upon the same playing eleven to get the job done since it's their ideal formation. Rookies Daryl Mitchell and Scott Kuggeleijn aren't seasoned enough, and New Zealand might not fancy taking chances with them in such a crunch game.

Probable XI: Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Kane Williamson (c), Colin de Grandhomme, Ross Taylor, Tim Seifert, Mitchell Santner, Blair Tickner, Tim Southee, Hamish Bennett, Ish Sodhi.

What they said:

"Lots of swings and misses. We were trying but we were facing one of the best death bowlers in the world. It is tough to get him away at the end. He has a great slower ball and bouncer. It is hard to get him away. Hopefully, he can have three bad games," Martin Guptill heaps praise on Bumrah's versatility and efficiency at the death.

Published 28 Jan 2020, 14:58 IST
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