After levelling the three-match series 1-1 in Auckland, India and New Zealand prepare to battle one last time in the final T20I in Hamilton on February 10.
India was comprehensively beaten by 80 runs in the first T20I but bounced back in style to comfortably win the second match at the Eden Park in Auckland. While the bowlers allowed New Zealand to bat India out of the first match, in the second T20 it was with ball in hand that India set up a comfortable chase.
The hosts once again batted first but their openers Tim Seifert and Colin Munro could not produce an encore from Wednesday in the second match. Pacers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Khaleel Ahmed made a good start to the innings and then came to close out the innings at the death.
Both the pacers are expected to keep their place in the playing XI and so will Krunal Pandya after his second man of the match performance in his last three T20Is. With the series still to be decided, it is unlikely India will rest Bhuvneshwar Kumar which means that Mohammad Siraj and Siddharth Kaul will miss out.
After a disappointing outing in the opening match, Rishabh Pant returned to form by scoring 40 runs in the second game and will continue to bat at number 3. Although Vijay Shankar did not score too many runs in the last game, it is unlikely that the management will drop him considering how much they are impressed by his batting skills. This means Shubman Gill will not get a game in the T20s but it remains to be seen whether Shankar is given the ball at all or will he continue as a pure batsman.
For New Zealand, Daryl Mitchell once again disappointed but it might be unfair to drop him following the howler from the third umpire to declare him out. At the same time, skipper Kane Williamson will be intent on giving James Neesham a game given his recent form. In the bowling department, the hosts may not make any changes as the total of 158 was too low to defend.
Hence, it may not be surprising to see both teams go into the decider without making any changes barring last minute injuries.
New Zealand: Tim Seifert (WK), Colin Munro, Kane Williamson (C), Ross Taylor, Daryl Mitchell, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Scott Kuggeleijn, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Blair Tickner
India: Rohit Sharma (C), Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant, Vijay Shankar, MS Dhoni (WK), Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Khaleel Ahmed
Pitch and conditions
The pitch at Seddon Park is a batting paradise and is expected to be no different on Sunday. The two teams possess plenty of stroke makers who will enjoy the true bounce of the surface and can hit through the line. There will be turn on offer and this will not sound good to the Kiwi batsmen.
Expect a typical New Zealand weather on Sunday evening. The temperatures are expected to be hovering around 20 degree Celsius and strong winds will make the conditions very chilly and foreign for the Indian players. The sky is forecast to be cloudy although no rain is forecast for the game.