Our prediction is that India will begin the T20 series with a win against New Zealand in the last ODI at Westpac Stadium.
In the last leg of the Trans-Tasman tour, India will be playing 3-match T20 International series against New Zealand starting 6th Feb 2016. After winning the ODI series 4-1 India have to be eying the T20I series against New Zealand who have a good record versus India in this format. The three matches of the T20I series will be played at Wellington, Auckland, and Hamilton.
A fumble in the 4th ODI of the series against New Zealand gave India something to play for. After being 4 down for almost nothing the middle rebuilt the Indian innings to a par score at Westpac stadium. All New Zealand needed were to stick around enough partnerships and bat 50 overs. India did not allow them to do that in helping conditions.
Though the momentum is with India it is going to challenging for them to beat the home side in the shortest format.
That last ODI more than any other game in the series highlighted the issues faced by the New Zealand team. They are not seizing enough opportunities with the bat or ball to close the game out. In their defense, they were up against India who have shown the tenacity to stick to the task throughout the Australian and New Zealand summer so far.
The series score-line of 3-2 reads much better than 4-1. And New Zealand rue this more for they had 4 Indian top-order batsmen back to the pavilion for almost nothing, thanks to Henry and Boult. A string of partnership and Hardik Pandya's blitz, in the end, meant New Zealand were chasing a par at this venue. They succumbed to the constant pressure from Indian bowlers and were all out 4th time in the series.
New Zealand have to take heart from the fact they have a better T20I record against India and must look to build on that in the first T20 International at Wellington.
Kane Williamson (capt), Trent Boult, Martin Guptill, Colin de Grandhomme, Tom Latham (wk), James Neesham, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Todd Astle, Ross Taylor
India are playing like a team that is so high on confidence at the moment that a loss, as heavy as the one in the 4th ODI, did not make them be circumspect in the 5th ODI. One would have expected them to be making all the right moves to ensure a win in the 5th ODI, however, they chose to make it hard for themselves.
India chose to bat first after winning the toss in seam-friendly conditions. New Zealand seam bowlers ripped through the Indian lineup to have them railing at 4 for 18 in the 10th over. India were staring at another low score but Vijay Shankar and Ambati Rayudu soaked in all the pressure in a 98-run partnership to build a platform for the likes Pandya to accelerate. And accelerate he did. A cameo of 45 in just 22 balls that included 5 sixes ensured India reached a par score in these conditions.
New Zealand threatened to take the game away in patches but India relentlessness had them all out with 35 still to make. India will take this experience into T20 international and would try to finish the long tour on a high.
Rohit Sharma (c), Ambati Rayudu, Shikhar Dhawan, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Yuzavendra Chahal, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Kuldeep Yadav, Shubhman Gill, Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant.
Westpac Stadium, also known as 'The Cake Tin', is a ground where seam bowlers have traditionally got help early on as can be seen from the last ODI between India and New Zealand.
The teams batting first have lost 80% of the matches at this venue.
Thus, the team winning the Toss should look to Bowl first here and use the seam-friendly conditions to make the early inroads.
In 8 head-to-head matches overall, New Zealand have won 6 matches to India’s 2. However, the second-ranked Indian team has been phenomenal in T20 International format in last two years winning 21 of the 29 matches they played. Sixth-ranked New Zealand on the other and have had to endure 12 defeats in the 19 matches. The series win coming into the T20 International series would have been a confidence booster too.
Thus, our prediction is that India will continue the winning streak and will begin the T20I series with a win against New Zealand at Wellington on 6th February 2019.
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