Team India will be looking to secure the ongoing T20I series against New Zealand when the two teams face each other in the third and final T20I. The encounter is scheduled to be played at McLean Park in Napier on Tuesday (November 22).
The Men in Blue won the second T20I on the back of Suryakumar Yadav's incredible unbeaten 111. His innings seemed to cover up for the team's problems at the top as new openers Rishabh Pant and Ishan Kishan failed to get the team off to a fast start in the last game.
In the third T20I game, skipper Hardik Pandya will be hoping that the openers perform well and the middle order executes their plans as well.
The upcoming T20I on Tuesday will be India’s first T20I at McLean Park. Prior to this, they have played a total of nine international matches at this venue. Both New Zealand-India Tests at this stadium ended in a draw, while the visitors have won two and lost three out of their five ODIs here over the years.
The pitch at McLean Park could host a run-fest as the batters tend to play their shots with ease. The venue's short boundaries aid the scoring rate as well. In 25 T20 matches held at the venue between 2006 and 2021, the average score batting first was 170, with England’s 241 taking the top spot on the list.
India won their last international game in Napier against New Zealand in 2019
The last international game that India played in Napier was a one-day international back in 2019. It was part of a five-match ODI series, which the Men in Blue managed to win convincingly by 4-1.
In the series opener played at McLean Park, New Zealand won the toss and elected to bat first. However, the visitors made light work of their batting line-up as the home team was bundled out for a paltry 157 in 38 overs.
The Kiwi batters never got going, resulting in them losing wickets at regular intervals. While skipper Kane Williamson held up one end with a superb 64 off 81 balls, no other Kiwi batter managed to go past the 25-run mark.
Wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav was the most successful bowler, returning figures of 4/39 in 10 overs. Seamer Mohammed Shami finished with an excellent 3/19 in six overs, while leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal chipped in with a couple of wickets as well.
In response, Shikhar Dhawan began the innings with a flurry of boundaries, eventually finishing as the top-scorer with 75 off 103 balls.
India were comfortably positioned at 44/1 when, in an odd turn of events, players left the field after dinner since it was impossible for them to see the ball. The sinking sun caused problems at McLean Park, resulting in a break that had never occurred in a match of international cricket before.
The target was changed to 156 in 49 overs due to the approximately 30-minute delay, which the visitors conveniently chased.
For his three wickets up top with the new ball, Mohammed Shami was adjudged the Player of the Match.