The third T20I between New Zealand and India could provide hints of things to come as it will be their last game of the format this year, hoping to head into 2023 with more answers than questions.
The hosts’ inability to gain absolutely any momentum in Sunday’s chase of 192 further emphasized their lack of assertiveness in the power play. In their last five T20Is, they scored 40 or less four times in the first six overs, and only two sixes – both by Finn Allen – despite only losing over two wickets once.
In the bowling department, Trent Boult is no longer a regular starter; and even when he played in four of New Zealand’s last five matches, they went wicketless in the power play three times. Napier deputy captain Tim Southee is just days away from turning 34, with the next T20 World Cup in a year and a half. It’s probably the best time to look ahead to New Zealand if things don’t pick up quickly.
India also needed a new approach with their batting after exiting the semi-finals of the World Cup, but that is exactly what they failed to achieve in the second T20I against New Zealand. Hopes were pinned on the opening pair of Rishabh Pant and Ishan Kishan to get them to a flier, but Pant struggled to score 6 from 13 balls, while Kishan took 31 deliveries for 36 runs, despite 26 of those coming within bounds.
India loved coming into this series to experiment with their percussion, tweaking their line-up to cater to those on the fringes. But as the story has been in the recent past, only Suryakumar Yadav really fit the canvas of T20s with a burning century.
This was a no-pressure series akin to that of a World Cup and with most of the hitters without any baggage, and India hopes the young faces can help to at least ease some of the baggage off the shoulders of management. After all, who knows what the inbound selectors have in mind?
New Zealand LLWLW (Last five matches completed; most recent first)
James Neeham‘s last five scores in T20 are 0, 16*, 0, 6 and 5. The fact that he’s batted at number 6 and coming in with little time each time means he often had to get off the hook. ball one. That undoubtedly makes his job doubly challenging, but opting for overseas leagues rather than an NZC contract could mean he’s running out of time soon.
In 20 innings this year, India has tried Rishabh pants four times as an opener, where he only shined briefly twice. Two of those four innings came as India tested him at the top, including in Mount Maunganui. Pant had lost almost the entire T20 World Cup to Dinesh Karthik, and if India decides his best place in the team is as opener, he now has Kishan to compete with. Nevertheless, once Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and Virat Kohli return, the question remains even if Pant makes it big in Napier: what will India do with him?
New Zealand can level up the series at best, something they will have to try without Williamson, who has a pre-arranged medical appointment. Southee will lead in his absence, and Mark Chapman is likely to find a spot in the squad.
New Zealand (likely): 1 Finn Allen, 2 Devon Conway (wk), 3 Mark Chapman, 4 Glenn Phillips, 5 Daryl Mitchell, 6 James Neesham, 7 Mitchell Santner, 8 Tim Southee (capt), 9 Ish Sodhi, 10 Adam Milne, 11 Lockie Ferguson
India may not want to tinker with their XI, even if it means multiple names don’t get a chance in the T20Is. If it does, Shubman Gill will have to wait for his debut, and Sanju Samson for his next chance with the national side, despite scoring 2*, 30* and 86* in his last three innings for India, even if that happens. came in ODIs.
India (probably): 1 Ishan Kishan, 2 Rishabh Pant (wk), 3 Suryakumar Yadav, 4 Shreyas Iyer, 5 Deepak Hooda, 6 Hardik Pandya (capt), 7 Washington Sundar, 8 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 9 Arshdeep Singh, 10 Mohammed Siraj, 11 Yuzvendra Chahal
The game kicks off at 7.30pm local time and it is expected to be pleasant and cloudy in Napier in the evening with some rain in the area. The last T20I at McLean Park was wiped out, with the first strike scores fluctuating even in the four games completed. The highest of these was England’s 241 in 2019.
“Everyone looked at some of his shots in amazement. We’ve already had a few discussions and will have a few more before the game tomorrow morning about how to fight him.”
No prizes for guessing that Garry SteadNew Zealand coach scratches his head at Suryakumar Yadav’s 111*