India aim to become first team to win a T20I series in New Zealand

Updated: Feb 10, 2019, 12:08 IST | PTI | Hamilton

Rohit Sharma & Co will look to clinch India's first T20I series in New Zealand to end summer Down Under on a high when the two teams clash for the third and final match today

Indian players in a huddle during the second T20 match against New Zealand in Auckland on Friday. Pic/AFP
Indian players in a huddle during the second T20 match against New Zealand in Auckland on Friday. Pic/AFP

In a season of many firsts for the Indian cricket team, Rohit Sharma's men will be aiming to become first among the equals to win a T20 International series in New Zealand when the two sides clash in the final match here today.

The past three months have made for a memorable phase for the Indian cricket team, which won its first Test and bilateral ODI series in Australia followed by the biggest one-day series win in New Zealand.

A first T20 series victory in New Zealand will be the icing on the cake for the Men in Blue, who have far exceeded expectations during their three-month sojourn in this part of the world.

With the series locked at 1-1, there is everything to play for in the decider which promises to be a cracker of a contest on Super Sunday with a spicy Seddon Park pitch in the offing. India will do well to remember the nightmare that they endured during the fourth ODI at this venue where they were shot out for 92 in the wake of some quality swing bowling from Trent Boult.

However, today is a different day and there can't be a bigger motivation than winning yet another series in challenging overseas conditions. "We have played in Hamilton and there won't be any surprise element as far as the pitch is concerned. Also having won the second game gives us confidence going into the final match," left-arm speedster Khaleel Ahmed had said after series levelling second T20I, when asked about the Hamilton game.

"We have rectified some of our mistakes from the first game and hopefully a few which are there will also be corrected," Khaleel added. India played the same XI in the first two games and in all likelihood, will maintain continuity unless there are some niggles.

In case the team management has a change of thought, it could be a like-for-like replacement with Kuldeep Yadav coming in place of Yuzvendra Chahal as the wrist spinner. However, a look at India's T20 playing XIs will indicate that Chahal has been their preferred shortest format bowler on most occasions.

The Indian bowling unit will look to replicate their good show from the last match where they found their rhythm after a pasting in the opener from NZ dasher Tim Seifert. Krunal Pandya has once again punched above his weight with some gritty performances in the two games. Not considered as the most talented player in the set-up, Krunal makes up his with hard work and discipline.

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