IN­DIA EYE AN­OTHER SLICE OF HIS­TORY

THIRD TIE TO­DAY, MEN IN BLUE LOOK TO CLINCH FIRST-EVER T20 SE­RIES IN NZ

Hindustan Times (Bathinda) - - News - Press Trust of In­dia sports­[email protected]­dus­tan­times.com

HAMIL­TON: In a sea­son of many firsts for In­dia, Ro­hit Sharma and com­pany will be aim­ing to be­come first 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 In­dia team, which won its 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 ex­ceeded ex­pec­ta­tions dur­ing their three-month trip to this part of the world.

With the se­ries locked 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 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,” lef­t­arm speed­ster Khaleel Ahmed had said after the se­ries lev­el­ling win in the sec­ond T20 in Auckland, when asked about the Hamil­ton game.

LES­SONS LEARNT

“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 fielded the same side in the first two games and in all like­li­hood will main­tain con­ti­nu­ity un­less there are some nig­gles.

In case the team man­age­ment gives change a thought, it could be Kuldeep Yadav com­ing in place of Yuzven­dra Cha­hal as the wrist spin­ner.

How­ever, a look at In­dia’s T20 elevens will in­di­cate that Cha­hal has been their pre­ferred short­est for­mat bowler on most oc­ca­sions.

The bowlers will look to repli­cate the good show from the last match where they found their rhythm after a past­ing in the opener from Tim Seifert.

Krunal Pandya once again punched above his weight with some gritty per­for­mances in the two games.

Not con­sid­ered the most tal­ented player in the set-up, Krunal makes up his with hard work and dis­ci­pline. His ac­cu­racy is one of the big­gest pos­i­tives go­ing into Sun­day’s match along with the in­tel­li­gence of se­nior seamer Bhu­vnesh­war Ku­mar.

Khaleel also stuck to his brief in the last game where skip­per Ro­hit Sharma had in­structed him to bowl back of the length to avoid be­ing hit for bound­aries. There will be a sim­i­lar plan in place on Sun­day also.

AMONG RUNS

Ro­hit, the stand-in cap­tain, is now the world’s top run-get­ter in T20 In­ter­na­tion­als. He will like to bet­ter the 29-ball-50 of the pre­vi­ous match, which can spell doom for the Black Caps.

With Shikhar Dhawan for com­pany, a good open­ing stand will be half the bat­tle won for the vis­i­tors as it has been the case dur­ing the last four years.

The mid­dle or­der has also shown so­lid­ity with the ex­pe­ri­ence of MS Dhoni and the ex­u­ber­ance of Rishabh Pant com­bin­ing well, as was ev­i­dent in Auckland.

For New Zealand, a bet­ter bat­ting ef­fort in the mid­dle overs is what they would be look­ing for.

Skip­per Kane Wil­liamson has en­dured a quiet lim­ited-overs se­ries by his stan­dards and se­nior bats­man Ross Tay­lor has also blown hot and cold dur­ing the last three weeks.

Among the New Zealand bowlers, Tim Southee was im­pres­sive in the first game but pretty or­di­nary in the sec­ond along with Scott Kuggeleijn, who also went for runs.

AFP

A big fac­tor in In­dia’s win in sec­ond T20 at Auckland was the im­pres­sive show by bowlers, es­pe­cially Krunal Pandya (sec­ond from right) and Khaleel Ahmed (ex­treme right).

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