India’s young top order will be under pressure to deliver in the series-deciding third T20I against New Zealand in Ahmedabad on Wednesday. It would be fair to say the trio of Shubman Gill, Ishan Kishan, and Rahul Tripathi has not made their opportunities count in the absence of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and K L Rahul. After the game on Wednesday, India doesn’t play a T20I for a long time, leaving the younger crop to make a statement before the focus shifts to the five-day format.
Kishan has not been able to find rhythm in his batting since his double hundred in Bangladesh while the turning ball has troubled Gill, who has not been able to replicate his ODI form in the shortest format. Tripathi, too, has wasted chances that have come his way in the absence of regular number three Kohli.
If it hadn’t been for Suryakumar Yadav and Hardik Pandya, India would have struggled to chase down 100 on Sunday.
The surfaces in the series have attracted a lot of attention and it remains to be seen if the players get to negotiate another turning track at the Narendra Modi Stadium.
In the bowling department, Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav playing together have helped India build pressure on the opposition. With the pitch offering a huge amount of turns, it was surprising that Chahal was used only for two overs after he dismissed opener Finn Allen.
After struggling with no-balls, Arshdeep Singh was back to his frugal best in Lucknow and that should give him a lot of confidence going into the decider.
With the series on the line, Pandya is unlikely to change the playing eleven despite the clamor for the inclusion of Prithvi Shaw, who made a national comeback with this series.
New Zealand, on the other hand, will be expecting more from their middle order. Sensing an opportunity to win a rare series in India. the Blackcaps will be highly motivated for the challenge.
Glenn Phillips has not been at his destructive best but trusts him to play a match-winning knock on Wednesday. ODI series sensation Michael Bracewell is due for a game-changing knock. Number three Mark Chapman will also be looking to make a significant contribution.
New Zealand used as many as eight bowling options in the previous game with four spinners bowling their full quota of overs.
More than 200 runs were scored in the last T20 played here almost two years ago and, after the low-scoring affair in Lucknow, fans would be hoping that normal service is restored.
India: Hardik Pandya (captain), Suryakumar Yadav (vice-captain), Ishan Kishan (wicketkeeper), Shubman Gill, Prithvi Shaw, Deepak Hooda, Rahul Tripathi, Jitesh Sharma (wk), Washington Sundar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Arshdeep Singh, Umran Malik, Shivam Mavi, and Mukesh Kumar.
New Zealand: Mitchell Santner (captain), Finn Allen, Michael Bracewell, Mark Chapman, Devon Conway (wk), Dane Cleaver (wk), Jacob Duffy, Lockie Ferguson, Benjamin Lister, Daryl Mitchell, Glenn Phillips (wk), Michael Rippon, Henry Shipley, Ish Sodhi, and Blair Tickner.