New Zealand did most things right in the first T20I, and not too many in the second. On current form, India have five consecutive wins were bound to pounce on even the tiniest of openings, and they have gone 2-0 ahead on a tour that they were talking about even before their last series was over. On last year’s tour, India lost the T20I series, and the prospect of clinching this one with two matches to spare will no doubt be on their minds.
It is a World Cup year in the T20I format and perhaps a five-match series is designed precisely to help the teams work out various combinations. For New Zealand, who are missing a number of first-choice players, the incentive to completely change their approach in the next match even goes a little beyond that. At 0-2 against a good team, there is little to lose. A change in venue, from Auckland to Hamilton, should also do them some good.
For the Kiwis, Scott Kuggeljein looks all set to get a go after warming the bench for the first two games. He was impressive in the nets with his changes of pace to the skipper, who in turn looked pleased with the fast bowler’s variations. Later on, he was also the only one to get a lengthy bat as Blair Tickner and Hamish Bennett ran in and bowled for a majority of the practice session. There’s also a possibility of Daryl Mitchell coming in as the batting all-rounder, and therefore strengthening the power-hitting equation of New Zealand’s batting. Both Mitchell and Kuggeleijn played key roles in their team’s victory over the same opposition when a T20I was last played here 12 months ago.
For India, it’s quite incredible that only three out of the 11 who played New Zealand in Hamilton last year are even in the squad this time around. Rohit Sharma had led the Indians with Kohli resting. But here, following two low scores, he spent a copious amount of time in the nets-with lengthy sessions, including one facing throwdowns at the very end followed by a long chat with Ravi Shastri and Vikram Rathour about playing the full, wide delivery. India had failed after coming very close to downing the target last year. But the way Shreyas Iyer is batting currently tells you what or who India was missing back then. It would be very unlikely India look to make any changes with Shardul Thakur expected to take the new-ball again.
New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Kane Williamson(c), Colin de Grandhomme, Ross Taylor, Tim Seifert(w), Mitchell Santner, Blair Tickner, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Hamish Bennett, Scott Kuggeleijn, Daryl Mitchell
India: Rohit Sharma, Lokesh Rahul(w), Virat Kohli(c), Shreyas Iyer, Shivam Dube, Manish Pandey, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Sanju Samson, Kuldeep Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Rishabh Pant, Washington Sundar
When: January 29, 20:00 Local, 12:30 IST
Where: Seddon Park, Hamilton
Broadcast: The match will be broadcasted LIVE and Exclusive on Star Sports 1, Star Sports 1 HD, Star Sports 1 Hindi, Star Sports 1 Hindi HD, Star Sports 1 Tamil, Star Sports 1 Telugu, Star Sports 1 Kannada, Star Sports 1 Bangla, Star Sports Select 1, Star Sports Select 1 HD.
DD Sports will also simulcast the shared feed of the Hindi broadcast of Star Sports 1 Hindi. Star’s OTT platform Hotstar will LIVE stream all the feeds.