INDIA TOUR OF AUSTRALIA, 2018-19
Cricbuzz Staff •
India were at their best in the second T20I after a 80-run hammering in the first. © AFP
In any chosen field, pressure is constant, always asking questions. In professional sports, too, pressure can test and drain athletes. The difference between victory and defeat could be just an inch or the 100th of a second. The margins are small. With the ongoing New Zealand versus India T20I series tied it at 1-1 going into the final game in Hamilton, it would come down to which team handles the fine lines of nerves and pressure at crucial junctures better.
In the first T20I, the hosts thumped India by a comfortable margin of 80 runs, while the tourists returned the favour in the second one with a clinical win. The visiting camp would be pleased with the way the bowlers executed their plans in the second T20I. Krunal Pandya picked up crucial scalps, while the pacers generated a hint of swing with the older ball to restrict New Zealand to a below par total. Incidentally, with batsmen going for so many big hits, the ball tends to get scuffed up in the shortest format relatively quicker and could lead to reverse swing.
Despite winning the second game, the Indian camp might ponder about tinkering with the team combination. In the fourth ODI played at the Seddon Park, it swung appreciably under clear blue skies for Trent Boult and co. However, the top wicket-takers at the ground in T20Is turn out to be a couple of spinners – Nathan McCullum and Daniel Vettori.
After misfiring in the first game, India’s batting too clicked. Rohit Sharma returning to form after a string of low scores would gladden the Indian think tank. The visitors certainly would look to cap off memorable tours of Australia and New Zealand with another series win.
Meanwhile, the top order’s failure in Auckland would be a cause for concern for the hosts. Tim Seifert, who played the starring role for the home side in the first match, was mostly cramped for room and the lower order couldn’t accelerate. On a positive note, Colin de Grandhomme played with a touch of fearlessness and the home team would be hoping the all rounder can put up consistent performances.
When: New Zealand vs India, 3rd T20I, Feb 10, 08:00 PM local time, 12:30 AM IST
Where: Seddon Park, Hamilton
What to expect: Hamilton has tended to assist spinners a bit. In the fourth ODI between India and New Zealand, it also swung for pacers. Barring a couple of T20Is, captains have elected to field in the shortest format.
India: The tourists could go in with the same winning combination. Kuldeep Yadav, the left-arm wristspinner, and Shubman Gill are the couple of options to look at.
Probable XI: Rohit Sharma (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant, Vijay Shankar, MS Dhoni (wk), Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Khaleel Ahmed
New Zealand: Lockie Ferguson, the tearaway, seemed to be troubled by an ankle issue in the second game and as a result, Blair Tickner could come into the equation. The fast bowler bagged 15 scalps at 16.26 in T20s during the 2018-19 domestic season.
Probable XI: Tim Seifert, Colin Munro, Kane Williamson (c), Daryl Mitchell, Ross Taylor, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Scott Kuggeleijn, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Lockie Ferguson/Blair Tickner
What they said
“It’s important that as a side we are aware of the good bits we have done and put that into practice every time we come out to bat” – Kane Williamson reflects on New Zealand’s batting in the second T20I.
“It’s important to understand the mistakes that we made – it’s been a long tour for everyone” – Rohit Sharma praises his side after India bounced back from a 80-run mauling.