Eyes on India’s top order in the decider

The host country’s young top-order batsmen will be under pressure to deliver when India take on New Zealand in the third and deciding T20 International here on Wednesday. It is fair to say that in the absence of experienced players like Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Lokesh Rahul, the trio of Shubman Gill, Ishan Kishan and Rahul Tripathi have failed to capitalize on the opportunities. With India out of T20 internationals for a long time after Wednesday’s match, the youngsters have one last chance to make an impression ahead of the Test series against Australia.

Ishan has failed to find rhythm with the bat since his double century in Bangladesh, while Gill has also struggled against the turning ball. Gill has failed to replicate the form in the ODI format in T20s. Tripathi hasn’t been able to capitalize on the opportunities he has got in the absence of Kohli, who regularly bats at number three. Suryakumar Yadav and Hardik Pandya’s innings on Sunday helped India achieve the target of 100 runs with great difficulty.

The pitches for the series are under review and it remains to be seen whether the players once again face a spin-friendly pitch at the Narendra Modi Stadium. The combination of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav in the bowling department has helped India put pressure on the opposition. It was a surprise to see Chahal bowl only two overs in the second T20 despite the pitch helping him a lot even as the leg-spinner dismissed opener Finn Allen.

After struggling with the no-ball, pacer Arshdeep Singh looked in fine touch in Lucknow which should boost his morale ahead of the decider. With this series, there is a demand to feed the returning Prithvi Shaw but in the decider, captain Pandya is unlikely to make a change in the playing XI. New Zealand, on the other hand, will be hoping for a better performance from their middle order. The achievement of winning the series in India is enough to motivate the New Zealand team.

Glenn Phillips has not been able to present his aggressive batting form so far and the team will expect a match-winning innings from him on Wednesday. Michael Bracebell, who has been impressive in the ODI series, is also expected to put up a big innings. Mark Chapman, who bats at number three, is also eyeing a big innings. New Zealand used eight bowlers in the last match with four spinners completing their quota of overs.

The last T20 played here two years ago saw over 200 runs scored and after a low-scoring match in Lucknow, fans will be hoping to see big scores once again. Team India: Hardik Pandya (Captain), Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Shubman Gill, Prithvi Shaw, Deepak Hooda, Rahul Tripathi, Jitesh Sharma, Washington Sundar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Arshdeep Singh, Umran Malik, Shivam Mavi and Mukesh Kumar. New Zealand: Mitchell Santner (c), Finn Allen, Michael Bracewell, Mark Chapman, Devon Conway, Dane Cleaver, Jacob Duffy, Lockie Ferguson, Benjamin Lister, Daryl Mitchell, Glenn Phillips, Michael Rippon, Henry Shipley, Ish Sodhi, Blair Tickner. Time: The match will start at 7 pm.

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