NZ look to put things right with series on the line

Match details
Seddon Park, Hamilton
January 29, Wednesday; 12:30 IST

The main picture

Two-nil down, the series is on the line, what can New Zealand do to avoid losing three in a row? They have tried to play India at their own game—by setting a target after winning the toss in the second T20I—and failed, while they didn’t have an option in the first T20I. Their bowling attack has failed to seize the fleeting moments of pressure in trying to defend 203 and 132, while the batting line-up, you could say, hasn’t had an answer to Jasprit Bumrah’s restricting lines and lengths. Crucially for New Zealand, they know what’s cost them but have left themselves with no breathing space as they seek to put things right.

One of the issues the New Zealand think-tank must address is the potency of the bowling attack. India lost fewer wickets than New Zealand while chasing, which is a worry for the bowling team. Obviously the bowling attack is short of experience and a bit of the cutting edge that you get with Trent Boult and Lockie Ferguson, but the Blackcaps could look at Scott Kuggeleijn and Daryl Mitchell as options to replace Hamish Bennett and Blair Tickner.

Mitchell was the leading wicket-taker (with four wickets) in the three-match T20I series between these sides last year and his economy rate (8.68) was better than that of Bennett and Tickner in the current series. Of course, India are a better T20 batting unit than they were 12 months ago, but Mitchell has the variations to strangle the free-scoring Indian batsmen. Kuggeleijn can be erratic, which is evident from his T20I economy rate of 9.68, but he’s skiddy and, with the bat, capable of clearing the boundary batting lower down the order.

On the batting front, New Zealand are settled, though Colin de Grandhomme’s lack of contributions hasn’t helped their cause. Colin Munro, Martin Guptill and Ross Taylor have struck the ball quite well in the first two T20Is, but what the Blackcaps essentially need is one batsman getting a big score (80 or more) after settling in.

In contrast to New Zealand, India have been clinical in the batting and bowling departments, while they fielded better in the second T20I, too. Captain Virat Kohli said the team management might not look to make changes for the third match. “I don’t think so, we are playing good cricket,” he said after the second T20 International, in response to a question about the possible changes in personnel. India are the confident and in-form team, able to make things work for themselves. Expect India to find solutions to any fresh challenge that the home team throw at them.

Seddon Park Hamilton pitch report and weather forecast

The most significant difference between Eden Park and the venue for the third T20I is Seddon Park is of a more traditional shape as a cricket ground. The length of the boundaries will vary depending on the pitch that’s being used, though they are about 65m from the centre of the pitch.

On their tour last year, India played an ODI and a T20I at Seddon Park. The pitch used for the ODI offered plenty of lateral movement and the bounce was spongy, contributing to India being bowled out for 92 in 30.5 overs. The pitch for the T20I was more batsmen-friendly and an aggregate of 420 runs was scored, with India falling short of their target (213) by four runs. For Wednesday’s match, the same pitch is likely to be used and it’s possible that the bounce and pace on offer will be conducive to strokeplay.

The weather forecast says that Wednesday will be clear with the temperature in the evening set to be around 15 degree Celsius.

India vs New Zealand 3rd T20 playing 11

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

Possible India playing 11: 1 Virat Kohli (c), 2 KL Rahul, 3 Rohit Sharma, 4 Shreyas Iyer, 5 Manish Pandey, 6 Shivam Dube, 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Yuzvendra Chahal, 9 Mohammed Shami, 10 Jasprit Bumrah, 11 Shardul Thakur/Navdeep Saini

India vs New Zealand 3rd T20I telecast channel

The third T20 International between India and New Zealand will be telecast on the Star Sports network and streamed live on Hotstar. The match can also be viewed on DD National.

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