India eye victorious end to overseas tour cycle

Match details

Seddon Park, Hamilton
February 10, Sunday; 12:30 IST
Live on Star Sports, steaming on Hotstar

The main picture

India took a lot of us by surprise by sticking with the same playing XI for the second Twenty20 International from the 80-run defeat in the first, but it was an indication of the team management showing faith in the players who under-performed in Wellington and, in general, the confidence within the team after a proper mauling. What was equally impressive was the players who had under-performed justifying the team management’s decision to stick with them with quality performances.

Speaking at the post-match presentation after India’s seven-wicket win in Auckland, Rohit Sharma said, “Very pleased to see how we bowled, and we were quite clinical with the bat as well. We have quality in our side, but we executed our plans better today after learning from our mistakes,” emphasising that the defeat in Wellington was not much more than a blip for an incredibly focused Indian team who know what they are doing.

The good sign for India is they have responded well when they have gone behind early in the series. They lost the opening T20I and ODI against Australia in three-match series and came up with strong responses to draw and win those contests. Here, the big defeat in the first T20I hasn’t perturbed them. And they look the better team going into the deciding match.

New Zealand, on the other hand, haven’t reacted well when they have been put under pressure. They cantered their way to series wins against Sri Lanka in every format, but against a much better opposition in India, they have not played to potential. After the defeat in Auckland, Kane Williamson and co. face a psychological battle after a heavy defeat.

Seddon Park pitch report and Hamilton weather forecast

Bowlers found plenty of assistance in the ODI last week. They were able to find lateral movement for a good 20 overs and the pitch offered extra bounce. With the match starting at 8pm local time, the ball is unlikely to swing and seam as much as it did last Thursday. And the pitch is likely to be good for batting.

The forecast says that the temperature in the evening will be 14 degree Celsius, with no chance of rain.

India vs New Zealand 3rd T20 playing XI

Possible New Zealand playing 11: 1 Kane Williamson (c), 2 Tim Seifert (wk), 3 Colin Munro, 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Colin de Grandhomme, 6 Scott Kuggeleijn/James Neesham, 7 Mitchell Santner, 8 Daryl Mitchell, 9 Tim Southee, 10 Blair Tickner, 11 Ish Sodhi

Possible India playing 11: 1 Rohit Sharma (c), 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Vijay Shankar, 4 Rishabh Pant, 5 MS Dhoni (wk), 6 Hardik Pandya, 7 Krunal Pandya, 8 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 9 Yuzvendra Chahal, 10 Kuldeep Yadav/Dinesh Karthik, 11 Khaleel Ahmed

Match prediction

So far this series, the battle up front—between the new-ball bowlers and top-order batsmen—has shaped the course of the matches. Despite the depth of batting in the two teams, India and New Zealand have not recovered from losing early wickets. Chances are that the final T20I could also pivot on what happens with the new ball.

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