After picking up their first ever T20 victory in New Zealand on Friday, India will be aiming to go one step further when they square off against the Black Caps in the series decider in Hamilton on Sunday.
While India’s women have already lost their T20 series against the White Ferns, the Men in Blue remain on course for a clean sweep of the Black Caps in both limited overs formats. However Seddon Park was the venue for India’s only defeat in the ODI series, and New Zealand will be hoping that it plays into their favour on Sunday.
The likes of Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan provided a solid foundation at the top for India to register a crushing victory in Wellington. India have often relied on their top order to do the damage upfront, and it probably came as no surprise that they lost the first T20 when the batsmen failed to fire. The story was reversed in Auckland, with New Zealand never quite in the hunt after posting an under par score batting first.
Colin de Grandhomme was the only NZ player to have a score of some note at Eden Park. Without his half century, New Zealand might have only managed something in the 120-130 mark. India’s bowlers were fantastic at the death, and applied the squeeze on the Kiwi batsmen, with boundaries hard to come by for the home side despite the batting friendly nature of the victory.
Krunal Pandya was fantastic in Auckland and his three wickets gave him the Man of the Match award. Left arm bowler Khaleel Ahmed bagged 2 wickets- perhaps the young quick’s best game on tour so far. India have opted to play Vijay Shankar purely as a batsman this season. Young Shubman Gill hasn’t got a chance in the T20’s and with the series on the line, India are unlikely to bring him into the XI.
The team management may consider giving Kuldeep Yadav a go in place of Yuzvendra Chahal, or may want to play both the wrist spinners together.
For New Zealand, this is probably last chance saloon for Colin Munro to make his case for a World Cup spot. Fast bowler Lockie Ferguson is likely to be rested, with Blair Tickner in line for his debut on Sunday. The Black Caps chose not to tinker with a winning combination in the second game, but James Neesham definitely adds a new dimension to this side, especially with the bat, and he may play at Seddon Park.