New Zealand did most things right in the first T20I, and not too many in the second. On current form, India – they have five consecutive wins – were bound to pounce on even the tiniest of openings, and they have gone 2-0 ahead on a tour that they were talking about even before their last series was over. On last year’s tour, India lost the T20I series, and the prospect of clinching this one with two matches to spare will no doubt be on their minds.
It is a World Cup year in the T20I format and perhaps a five-match series is designed precisely to help the teams work out various combinations; for New Zealand, who are missing a number of first-choice players, the incentive to completely change their approach in the next match even goes a little beyond that. At 0-2 against a good team, there is little to lose. A change in venue, from Auckland to Hamilton, should also do them some good.
New Zealand LLLLW (last five completed matches, most recent first)
In the spotlight
New Zealand have done their bit in trying to make the most of Colin de Grandhomme‘s abilities as a T20 batsman by batting him at No. 4 in both matches. With scores of 0 and 3, de Grandhomme is yet to make the impact they expect from him after the top three have done their job. They have not used him for his bowling this series, so New Zealand desperately need his batting to boost their middle overs.
Rohit Sharma hasn’t quite brought the form from limited-overs cricket that he showed at the end of the home season last year. His scores in this series have been the only single-digit ones in his last ten innings across formats.
New Zealand’s only options on the bench are seam-bowling allrounders Daryl Mitchell and Scott Kuggeleijn. All signs so far point at Kuggeleijn coming into the XI, but it is not quite as straightforward with Mitchell, who can only come in at the cost of either the hitting abilities of Colin de Grandhomme or one of the spinners.
New Zealand (probable): 1 Martin Guptill, 2 Colin Munro, 3 Kane Williamson (capt),4 Colin de Grandhomme, 5 Ross Taylor, 6 Tim Seifert (wk), 7 Mitchell Santner/Daryl Mitchell, 8 Ish Sodhi, 9 Tim Southee, 10 Blair Tickner/Scott Kuggeleijn, 11 Hamish Bennett
It is unlikely India will tinker with either department, but with the batting line-up stepping up so impressively, they might be tempted to forego Shardul Thakur’s batting ability at No. 8 for the pace of Navdeep Saini.
India (probable): 1 Rohit Sharma, 2 KL Rahul (wk), 3 Virat Kohli (capt), 4 Shreyas Iyer, 5 Manish Pandey, 6 Shivam Dube, 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Shardul Thakur/Navdeep Saini, 9 Yuzvendra Chahal, 10 Mohammed Shami, 11 Jasprit Bumrah
Pitch and conditions
Seddon Park is typically a high-scoring venue. In the last five T20 matches here, teams batting first have made 190-plus on three occasions. But in the last T20I played here, New Zealand posted 212 and only managed to beat India by four runs. That was a year ago.
Stats and trivia
Teams batting first have won the last four T20 matches at this venue
If India go 3-0 up, they will win their first T20I series in New Zealand on their third attempt