■ With se­ries locked 1-1, the de­cider prom­ises a thriller

Deccan Chronicle - - Cricket -

Hamil­ton, Feb. 9: In a sea­son of many firsts for the In­dian cricket team, Ro­hit Sharma’s men will be aim­ing to be­come first among the equals to win a T20 In­ter­na­tional se­ries in New Zealand when the two sides clash in the fi­nal match here on Sun­day.

The past three months have made for a mem­o­rable phase for the In­dian cricket team, who won their first Test and bi­lat­eral ODI se­ries in Aus­tralia fol­lowed by the big­gest one-day se­ries win in New Zealand.

A first T20 se­ries vic­tory in New Zealand will be the ic­ing on the cake for the ‘Men in Blue’, who have far ex­ceeded ex­pec­ta­tions dur­ing their three-month so­journ in this part of the world. With the se­ries locked at 1-1, there is ev­ery­thing to play for in the de­cider which prom­ises to be a cracker of a con­test on a ‘Su­per Sun­day’ with a spicy Sed­don Park pitch in the off­ing.

In­dia will do well to re­mem­ber the night­mare that they en­dured dur­ing the fourth ODI at this venue where they were shot out for 92 in the wake of some qual­ity swing bowl­ing from Trent Boult. How­ever, Sun­day will be a dif­fer­ent day and there can’t be a big­ger mo­ti­va­tion than win­ning yet an­other se­ries in chal­leng­ing over­seas con­di­tions.

“We have played in Hamil­ton and there won’t be any sur­prise el­e­ment as far as the pitch is con­cerned. Also hav­ing won the sec­ond game gives us con­fi­dence go­ing into the fi­nal match,” left-arm speed­ster Khaleel Ahmed had said after se­ries lev­el­ling sec­ond T20I, when

asked about the Hamil­ton game.

“We have rec­ti­fied some of our mis­takes from the first game and hope­fully a few which are there will also be cor­rected,” Khaleel added. In­dia played the same XI in the first two games and in all like­li­hood, will main­tain con­ti­nu­ity un­less there are some nig­gles.

M.S. Dhoni (left) and Rishabh Pant.

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