It’s hard to let that sink in. It’s even harder to be someone from the New Zealand camp right now. In the space of only seven months or so, New Zealand have been involved in three Super Overs across two formats, all of which they have lost. In all T20Is, the Black Caps have been part of six such occasions, emerging as winners in only one of them. As distraught as Kane Williamson was on waging a lone fight in a losing cause in Hamilton, he didn’t shy away from acknowledging that this was indeed an improvement from the last two games.
And the captain had a reason to be hurt. Unlike the World Cup final, New Zealand had the upper hand over India even before the last delivery of the Super Over. Williamson shepherded the chase of 180 with a level-headed approach, but none looked as comfortable as him when it came to finding the boundary regularly. Even as the captain went back five short of a hundred, the Kiwis held the edge, needing two off four deliveries with Ross Taylor and Tim Seifert at the crease.
The T20I series is lost. However, the hosts must continue to build on whatever little progress they have made for the rest of the tour. Post the dead rubbers in Wellington and Mount Maunganui; the two sides will square off in the ODI and Test format as well. And the visitors are no pushovers in either of those formats. The biggest positive from their perspective is Williamson returning to his best with the bat. The bowling attack which made a fine recovery after the first two games still needs some fine-tuning if they are to gain victory in the remaining matches and pose a challenge after that.
Amid this, India’s performance and a come from behind victory deserves special recognition. But one man, who deserves mention in particular, is Rohit Sharma. After failing in Auckland twice, he rose to the occasion in Hamilton first as an opener. Then Rohit’s stunning hitting under pressure in the death to get 18 from the super over ensured their seal on the T20I series. India faced a wobbly situation, having lost three quick wickets after an explosive start. And despite applying the squeeze by New Zealand, the men in blue finished with a flourish to set a target of 180.
Now that the series is in the bag, the visitors can afford to tinker with their combination. Indian captain Virat Kohli has strongly hinted at utilizing the remaining two games to give game time to their benched players. While Kohli has his sights set on blanking the Kiwis, a loss shouldn’t hurt India’s morale at this point.
Top-order batsman Tom Bruce will replace Colin de Grandhomme for the final two T20Is. However, New Zealand would be looking for a like for like replacement for De Grandhomme and hence Daryl Mitchell may get the nod. The rest of the eleven is likely to remain the same.
Probable XI: Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Kane Williamson(C), Ross Taylor, Tim Seifert(WK), Daryl Mitchell/Tom Bruce, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Scott Kuggeleijn, Hamish Bennett.
As already mentioned above, Kohli indicated that they would look into their benched players to see how they fare in these conditions. As a result, Navdeep Saini can get drafted in place of Shardul Thakur. There is also a chance that Washington Sundar might get a look for Ravindra Jadeja. Furthermore, the men in blue may opt to rest KL Rahul ahead of the ODI series which means that Sanju Samson could play as the gloveman and an opening batsman.
Probable XI: Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul/Sanju Samson(WK), Virat Kohli(C), Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja/Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur/Navdeep Saini, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah.
Focus will be on:
Tim Southee (New Zealand):
Tim Southee is the common link in all of New Zealand’s super overs so far in T20s. The 31-year old seamer has bowled in all six occasions for the Kiwis but has managed to win only one for them. At the Seddon Park, in defence of 18, Southee started well by conceding only three runs off the first two balls.
However, things took a turn for the worse when he gave away 23 in the next four deliveries to lose the match. After bowling well in the second game, he ended up with figures of 4-0-39-0 in the entire third T20I. Hence, the experienced seamer must adopt consistency in the final two matches ahead of the ODI series.
Jasprit Bumrah (India):
It’s not often that Jasprit Bumrah finishes as one of the most expensive bowlers. But on Wednesday it happened as Bumrah conceded 45 off four overs without taking any wicket. Williamson decoded him in Hamilton, notably churning three consecutive boundaries off his third and the innings’ 17th over.
In total, the Kiwi skipper took 25 runs off 12 deliveries off the pacer. Hence, the remaining limited-over games are nicely set up for the battle between Williamson and Bumrah.
Head to Head:
Played – 14, New Zealand won – 8, India won – 5, No result – 1
The last time these two teams met at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand hammered 219, winning by 80 runs eventually.
76 – Rohit Sharma needs 76 runs to overtake AB de Villiers’ tally of 8657 runs in all T20s.
2- The men in blue have lost both their T20s at the Westpac Stadium. They lost one in 2009 and suffered a defeat in 2019 as well.
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Live Streaming – Hotstar
Match Timings – 12:30 PM IST; 6:00 PM local
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