New Zealand vs India 3rd T20I: Must-Win Game for Kiwis to Keep Series Alive

The first two games of the five-match T20I series between New Zealand and India produced two very different games on the same pitch. While the first game saw nearly 400 runs scored, the second saw that the home team had struggled to get runs against a formidable Indian attack. As it turned out, the Kiwis lost two back to back games and are now facing a must-win situation. The New Zealand vs India 3rd T20I will be played in Hamilton, which is the fourth-largest ground in the country and considerably large than Auckland. 

The ground dimensions of Auckland were the subject of huge debate with the straight boundaries just 55 meters and the side boundaries between 50 to 60 meters. Six hitting was relatively easy in the ground with almost 20 sixes being hit in the first two T20Is. Indian commentator Harsha Bhogle in his pre-match show with Cricbuzz said that international matches should not be played in small grounds like Eden Park.

“I can understand that it is a heritage ground (Eden Park) and its been like this for many years. They have changed the angles and shape of the ground. But with the new game, with the power, the batsmen are physically much stronger than they have ever been and the bats are so much better. You got to have bigger grounds than this. You cannot have this type of tiny little grounds. If that is the case then the teams can come and play on TV sets,” Harsha Bhogle told Cricbuzz.

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However, what these two games showed meanwhile is that how a team can make a quick turnaround than the other. The Indian bowlers were pummeled by the Kiwi batsmen in the first T20I and they came back strong to not even let the New Zealand batters score 150, in the second T20I. The New Zealand vs India 3rd T20I is another good chance for the Indian team to keep up the good work, which they showed in the second game.

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The Indian bowlers led by Jasprit Bumrah bowled with control and in good channels to limit the Kiwi batsmen from scoring. During the chase, KL Rahul (57) and Shreyas Iyer (44) took India home after senior batsmen Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli failed to get going. Going into the New Zealand vs India 3rd T20I, there should not be any changes in the Indian playing XI as they have now won both games with the same team combination. If at all, Kuldeep Yadav can be added to the squad in place of Shivam Dube, to let both the wrist-spinners play in tandem. The Rahul-Iyer duo will again be on the focus with the bat as the management is tracing the development of both of them keeping the World T20 in mind. Rahul so far has successfully kept wickets as well, keeping Rishabh Pant out of the Indian team.

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The Kiwis, on the other hand, have some thinking to do. Their experiment of sending Colin de Grandohhome at number four has failed big time. His last four innings which included two innings against India read 7,6,o and 3. He has also failed to deliver with the ball and the Kiwis might bench him in the must-win game at Hamilton. Scott Kuggelein and Daryl Mitchell are two options who can replace Colin. Kiwis would hope that whoever replaces him delivers better performance than him in the New Zealand vs India 3rd T20I in Hamilton.  

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The bowling options for the Kiwis are good, it’s just that their batsmen needs to come up with a better performance in the third game. Meanwhile, the pitch at Seddon Park in Hamilton is a well-grassed stadium with a centre block of 9 pitches, running approximately North/South. These are usually very good batting tracks. The average first innings score of 172 is a good enough hint to understand that this pitch has a lot of runs in store for the batsmen. So far 11 T20I matches have been played in Hamilton with six wins batting first and five batting second. Thus the record is pretty even as far as this stat is concerned. 

Thus, the New Zealand vs India 3rd T20I will be a match to look forward to as the Kiwis have their back against the wall at the moment and need to win the game to stay alive in the series. 

Meanwhile, here are some of the key stats ahead of the New Zealand vs India 3rd T20I. 

1) Martin Guptill has taken 46 field catches and needs 4 more to reach the 50 field catches milestone.

2) Ish Sodhi and Mitchell Santner are both levelled at 50 T20I wickets. Only Tim Southee (75) and Nathan McCullum (58) have picked 50-plus wickets for New Zealand. 

3) Virat Kohli has 8851 T20 runs overall and needs 149 more to get to 9000 T20 runs. 

4) Rohit Sharma has scored 9952 international runs as an opener and needs 48 more to get to 10000 runs. 

5) Yuzvendra Chahal with 53 wickets is three short of overtaking Jasprit Bumrah as India’s leading wicket-taker in T20Is.

6) KL Rahul will become the first India batsman to score four back to back T20I fifties if he scores another 50-plus score in Hamilton.

Here is the Dream XI Predicted team for the match.

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