NZ look to avoid series whitewash

Match details
Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui
February 2, Sunday; 12:30 IST

The main picture

A mere look at the series scoreline suggests India have been all over New Zealand, but that isn’t necessarily true. Of course, India dominated New Zealand in the first and second T20I, but the home team should have won the third and fourth T20Is, which India won via the super over. The Blackcaps don’t need reminding that neither the Hamilton nor the Wellington T20I should have gone to the super over in the first place, with Ross Taylor particularly at fault for failing to close out those matches. Now, as we head into the fifth T20I, New Zealand face a test of their character to avoid being whitewashed.

If Kane Williamson, who sat out the fourth T20I with a left shoulder injury, is fit, he will return to the playing XI, possibly in place of Tom Bruce. That would, however, demote wicketkeeper-batsman Tim Seifert down the batting order after he made a 39-ball 57 batting at No. 3 and put his team on course for victory in Hamilton. The Blackcaps are unlikely to tinker with their line-up otherwise for the fifth T20I.

The selection is unlikely to be as straightforward for India, who have yet to involve left-arm chinaman spinner Kuldeep Yadav on this tour, while Rishabh Pant has remained out of the playing XI, too, with Sanju Samson getting a match ahead of the Delhi wicketkeeper, who had been named in the original squad.

The team management might make a couple of changes in personnel for tomorrow’s match, though. Kuldeep is one of those who could take Yuzvendra Chahal’s place. Whether Pant comes in place of Samson, who opened the innings after replacing the rested Rohit Sharma in the fourth T20I, and plays as a wicketkeeper remains to be seen.

In the last three-four months an overwhelming number of T20I series ending in whitewashes. Australia whitewashed Sri Lanka and Pakistan at home in November last year, while Sri Lanka also whitewashed Pakistan away from home on their tour in October 2019. India have, over the course of this series, been able to win from pretty dire situations, and blanking New Zealand would give them a psychological edge ahead of the three-match ODI series starting next Wednesday. Manish Pandey, whose unbeaten 36-ball 50 helped India put up a par score after being 88 for six in Wellington, said at the post-match press conference India will play to win the fifth T20I, too.

Bay Oval Mount Maunganui pitch report and weather forecast

One of the striking features of the venue is the straight and square boundaries are equally longer compared to Auckland, Hamilton and Wellington. The bowlers, therefore, have better protection. The pitch is normally good for batting, with the highest total being 243 by New Zealand, who have also posted two 190-plus total at the Bay Oval.

India vs New Zealand 5th 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 Daryl Mitchell, 7 Hamish Bennett, 8 Mitchell Santner, 9 Tim Southee, 10 Scott Kuggeleijn, 11 Ish Sodhi

Possible India playing 11: 1 Virat Kohli (c), 2 KL Rahul, 3 Sanju Samson, 4 Rishabh Pant (wk), 5 Manish Pandey, 6 Shivam Dube, 7 Kuldeep Yadav, 8 Washington Sundar, 9 Mohammed Shami, 10 Navdeep Saini, 11 Shardul Thakur

India vs New Zealand 5th T20I telecast channel

The fifth 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.