New Zealand and India will face each other in the third T20I at McLean Park in Napier on Tuesday, November 22nd. The match is due to start at 7.30 pm.
India will begin the game in confident form. After the first match in Wellington was lost to the weather altogether, there was better luck with the second match at the Bay Oval in Tauranga, where, despite wet conditions, the entire match was played.
And the match was lit up by a brilliant innings from Suryakumar Yadav, who underlined his status as the number one ranked T20I batter by making an unbeaten 111 off just 51 balls. His efforts helped India to 191/6 from their 20 overs, and, in reply, the hosts were bowled out for 126, with Deepak Hooda claiming a career-best 4 -10 and Yuzvendra Chahal and Mohammad Siraj each picking up two wickets apiece.
Key talking points
India need to play the powerplay overs better
A consistent criticism of the Indian team in recent years is that they are too cautious at the start of their innings and fail to take advantage during the mandatory powerplay overs when only two fielders are allowed outside the 30-yard cycle.
That approach backfired on them badly in their World Cup semi-final defeat to England, but it was again evident in the second T20I, as the opening pair of Ishan Kishan and Rishabh Pant again struggled to get going.
Pant is normally an attacking batter, but it took him 13 balls to score his 6 runs, and that is just not good enough.
At some stage, India have to trust themselves to take the shackles off early.
Too much reliance on Yadav
Whilst no player has scored more runs in T20I cricket for India this year than Yadav, there is a danger that too much reliance is being placed in him, and that others have to share some of the burden for scoring runs. In Tauranga, nearly 60% of India’s runs came from his bat alone, but even he is entitled to the odd off day.
With names like Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul all rested for this tour, this is an opportunity for somebody to stake a claim for a regular place in the side.
New Zealand will be without their captain Kane Williamson, who misses the match because of a pre-arranged medical appointment. It has been confirmed that the appointment has nothing to do with the elbow injury that he has been struggling with for some time, and that Williamson will return for the ODI series, which starts in Auckland on Friday.
He will be missed because he was the one New Zealand batter on Sunday who showed real signs of resistance.
His place in the side will be taken by Mark Chapman, whilst the side will be captained by Tim Southee.
India may choose to play the same XI that finished the match on Sunday. After the World Cup disappointment a series win on New Zealand soil would be good for morale, and there is no need to jeopardise that with too much experimentation.
The pitch in Napier tends to be flat, and generally good for batting, with a par first innings score being 170.
The weather forecast
The rain that has dogged this series so far has not disappeared, and there is a chance of showers on the day, but it is still hoped that an entire match can be played.
India will consider themselves favourites for this match after what happened in Tauranga, especially with the news that Williamson will miss the game. They appear to have the batter-bowling attack and with Yadav in their team, they have a proven match-winner.
What would be welcome, however, is to see India adopt a more aggressive mindset and be on the front foot from the word go. It is never too early to apply some of the key learnings from the World Cup. New Zealand, for their part, will know that they did not do themselves justice in the second T20I and that their batting as a collective unit is better than that. They will want to give a better account of themselves before the ODIs start, with many of the same personnel likely to be involved.
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