India finish their tour of New Zealand on Sunday when the two sides meet in the third and final T20 match in Hamilton. India are yet to lose a single series either in Australia or New Zealand and a win here will keep that fine record intact.
New Zealand will be looking for what would be a decent scalp in the 20 over game with a win here although I suspect they are still going into the match with one eye on the future, which is probably the right thing to do.
After winning the opening T20 so emphatically, New Zealand will have been disappointed to have surrendered so relatively tamely in the second match, but at the same time they know they have one last chance to secure a series win here. I think the key to that chance will be how they bat as this is yet another small ground for the action to be played on.
I don’t think New Zealand have bowled particularly well in the series so far but I’m not going to hold that against them because these small grounds are so hard for the bowlers to be effective on. One thing which will disappoint them is not executing their plans in the powerplay. You rarely win matches on small grounds in the first six overs but you can go a long way to losing them. They could do with tightening up in that area here.
A trend of both their tour of Australia and now New Zealand has been how India have dropped the first match and then come back fighting much stronger and it looks as though history is going to repeat itself here. India were poor in the first match and fell into the trap of these small grounds but they corrected themselves nicely for the second match and must be the favourites to go on and wrap up the series now.
There is still a bit of work to do with the batting line up although everyone knows that Virat Kohli is coming back into it when the important stuff comes along again so I can understand why not much of an issue is being made of it. Their allrounders have been important for them so far and you get the feeling that could be the case again here.
Blair Tickner is expected to make his international debut for the Kiwis in this match. Lockie Ferguson has been stood down for this one so Tickner could be his replacement. It is hard to see how Scott Kuggeleijn gets another game after being expensive again.
India might look to bring Kuldeep Yadav into their side for this match in which case a batsman could sit out. Alternatively they could look to rest one of the Pandya brothers although in truth neither has played much cricket recently.
We’ve had two largely one-sided matches so far in this series so from a neutral point of view here is hoping that the deciding match lives up to the billing and delivers a thrilling end to India’s tour of this part of the world. One thing I’m expecting, based on previous T20 matches here, is a high scoring game.
Scores of 175 and above are regular features here and with a lightning fast outfield and short boundaries I’m expecting these two excellent batting line ups to deliver a flurry of hits that make it to the ropes in this one. The boundaries line for this match is 41.5 which has been covered in the last five T20s on this ground. Both teams look in decent nick with the bat so I’m expecting that line to be surpassed once again.
WON – Back Over 41.5 boundaries for a 4/10 stake at 1.83 with William Hill
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