India vs New Zealand 2021-22: As Men in Blue eye clean sweep, Kiwis play for pride
India already possesses an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match T20I series against New Zealand. With the final game in Kolkata, India would aim for a clean sweep, while NZ would avoid embarrassment.
Team India has produced a splendid performance in the ongoing three-match Twenty20 International (T20I) series against New Zealand, possessing an unassailable 2-0 lead. The final game will be played at the iconic Eden Gardens Stadium in Kolkata on Sunday. While India eyes a clean sweep, NZ plays for pride and looks to avoid embarrassment. In the same light, we present the match preview of what is expected to be a thriller.
Besides the successive twin wins in this series, India is on a five-match winning streak from the just-concluded ICC T20 World Cup, held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). On the other hand, NZ has lost three games in a row since the T20WC final defeat to Australia. Thus, the momentum is clearly with India, but a quality side like NZ can never be ruled out.
Team strength & weaknesses, and players to watch out
As far as the teams are concerned, India is balanced, while its batting happens to be its strength. Nonetheless, it has a talented young bowling attack that has given a tough time to the Kiwis. Skipper Rohit Sharma, Suryakumar Yadav, Venkatesh Iyer, KL Rahul, Ishan Kishan, Deepak Chahar, Harshal Patel, and Yuzvendra Chahal are the ones who can again play pivotal roles in this tie.
Considering NZ, it is its bowling that is lethal and has hard work to do. As for its batting, it lacks specialists, which is why its middle-order has been fluttering. However, the possession of numerous all-rounders should stabilise it. The likes of Martin Guptill, Trent Boult, Lockie Ferguson, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi and Kyle Jamieson are likely to play a vital role in this clash.
Injury concerns and head-to-head
None of the sides has any notable injuries, while NZ would be missing out on skipper Kane Williamson and pacer Kyle Jamieson, who have opted to rest. The two sides have played each other on 19 instances in the format, with NZ having a lead of 9-8, while in India, the host leads 4-3. It would be the first-ever T20I meeting at this ground.
Weather and pitch report
The Kolkata weather would be typical, with the temperature expected to be between 23-32 degrees. The track generally stays slow. However, keeping the dew factor in mind, the side winning the toss would undoubtedly look to bowl first, while spin would play a crucial role here. Any score above 150 could be competitive.
IND: Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul (vc & wk), Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Venkatesh Iyer, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Avesh Khan, Deepak Chahar and Harshal Patel.
NZ: Martin Guptill, Daryl Mitchell, Tim Seifert (wk), Glenn Phillips (wk), Mark Chapman, Mitchell Santner, James Neesham, Tim Southee (c), Adam Milne, Ish Sodhi and Trent Boult.
Batters: Rohit (vc), Guptill (c), Yadav, Rahul, Chapman, Phillips- Rohit and Rahul would give an explosive start, aided by Guptill at number three, while Yadav, Chapman and Phillips would dominate in the middle-order. While Rohit's reliability makes him the deputy captain, Guptill consistency makes him the skipper.
Wicketkeeper: Pant- With extraordinary finishing abilities, Pant is a no-brainer here.
All-rounder: Mitchell- He has been performing magic with his batting of late, especially at the top-order and would be sure to do the same again here.
Bowlers: Southee, Ashwin, Boult- Ashwin is a must-have owing to his effective veteran spin of late, while Southee and Boult would heavily impact their deadly pace.
Date and day: November 21, 2021 (Sunday)
Venue: Eden Gardens, Kolkata
Time: 7 PM (IST)
Where to watch (TV): Star Sports 1 and Star Sports 1 Hindi (Also available in HD, along with regional languages)
Where to watch (Online): Hotstar