The third T20I between New Zealand and India will be their last game in the format this year, and they will want to go into 2023 with more answers than questions.
Chasing 192 on Sunday, New Zealand’s failure to gain any momentum with the bat further highlighted their lack of consistency in the powerplay. In their last five T20Is, they have scored 40 or less four times in that span, and have hit just two sixes – both by Finn Allen – despite losing more than two wickets just once.
In the bowling department, Trent Boult is currently out of the picture, and is no longer a particular starter. And even when he played in four of New Zealand’s last five, he went wicketless three times in the Powerplay. Tim Southee, Napier’s stand-in captain, is just days short of turning 34, with a year and a half until the next T20 World Cup. If things don’t start going their way soon, it might be time for New Zealand to look ahead.
India also needed a fresh approach with their top-order batting after their semi-final exit in the T20 World Cup, but they couldn’t get it in the second T20I. Hopes were pinned on the opening pair of Rishabh Pant and Ishan Kishan to get them off to a big start, but Pant struggled to score 6 off 13 balls while Kishan took 31 for 36, including 26 boundaries. Despite coming to
India were happy to experiment with their batting in this series, rejigging their line-up to accommodate those on the fringes. But as the story goes in the recent past, only Suryakumar Yadav really played his part – and how! — with a bright century.
It was a relatively low-pressure series compared to the World Cup, and with one more game to go, India will hope that the young players take at least some of the burden off the management and Surya Kumar’s shoulders. After all, no one knows who the next set of selectors will be, and what their plans are going to be.
New Zealand LLWLW (Last five complete matches; most recent first)
James NeshamHis last five T20 scores are 0, 16*, 0, 6 and 5. The fact that he has batted at No. 6 and comes with very little time means that he often has to go slim-banging a ball. It makes his job harder, sure, but that’s what he has to do, and isn’t able to do. Like Bolt, he has opted out of the central contract, and may need to do something big to stay in contention.
India have tried in 20 innings this year. Rishabh Pant Four times as an opener, where he only flashed briefly twice. Two of those four innings came with India at the Test summit, including at Mount Maunganui. If India feel that his best place in the XI is as an opener, he now has a cushion to contend with. However, with the return of Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and Virat Kohli, the question will still remain even if Pant grows up in Napier: what will India do with him?
New Zealand can best draw the series, they will have to try without Williamson. Southee is set to lead, with Mark Chapman likely to get a place in the team.
New Zealand (Probable): 1 Finn Allen, 2 Dion Conway (wicket), 3 Mark Chapman, 4 Glenn Phillips, 5 Daryl Mitchell, 6 James Neesham, 7 Mitchell Santner, 8 Tim Southee (captain), 9 Ash Sodhi, 10 Adam Milne , 11 Loki Ferguson
India might not want to tinker with their XI even if it means several players don’t get a chance in T20Is. If that happens, Shibman Gill will have to wait for his debut in the format, and Sanju Samson will have to wait for his next opportunity with the national team, having scored 2*, 30* and Despite scoring 86* runs, albeit in ODIs.
India (Probable): 1 Ishan Kishan, 2 Rishabh Pant (wicket), 3 Surya Kumar Yadav, 4 Shreyas Iyer, 5 Deepak Hooda, 6 Hardik Pandya (captain), 7 Washington Sundar, 8 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 9 Arsdeep Singh, 10 Mohammad Siraj , 11 Yuzvendra Chahal
The match kicks off at 7.30pm local time, and Napier is expected to have a pleasant and cloudy evening, with some rain around. The last T20I at McLean Park was dusted off, and the score to bat first has worked in four complete games. The most of them was England’s 241 in 2019.
“Everybody was surprised to see some of his shots. We’ve already had some discussions, and there will be some more tomorrow morning before the game about how we can deal with him.”
No prizes for guessing it. Gary SteadNew Zealand coach talking about Surya Kumar’s 111*