AHMEDABAD: India’s young top-order will be under pressure to deliver in the series-deciding third T20 International against New Zealand here on Wednesday.
It would be fair to say the trio of Shubman Gill, Ishan Kishan and Rahul Tripathi has not made its opportunities count in the absence of Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul andVirat Kohli.
After the game on Wednesday, the India team does not 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 had not been for Suryakumar Yadav and Hardik Pandya, India would have struggled to chase down 100 on in Lucknow 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 has helped India build the pressure on the opposition. With the Lucknow pitch offering a huge amount of turn, 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, Hardik is unlikely to change the playing eleven despite clamour 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 its middle order. Sensing an opportunity to win a rare series in India, the visiting Blackcaps team will be highly motivated for the challenge.
Glenn Phillips has not been at his destructive best but trust him to play a match-winning knock on Wednesday. The ODI series sensation Michael Bracewell, too, 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.
A lot of runs were scored in the last T20I played here almost two years ago and, after the low-scoring affair in Lucknow, fans would be hoping that normal service is restored.
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