India Look To Test Bench Strength With An Eye On Series Sweep

Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - India look to test bench strength with an eye on series sweep. India have already bagged the three-match series 2-0.

India Look To Test Bench Strength With An Eye On Series SweepIndia have already bagged the three-match series 2-0.

If the first T20I was closer than India would've liked, they bossed the second T20I to bag the series in Ranchi for their fifth successive bilateral home series win. The seven-wicket win left the final game of the three-match series between India and New Zealand a dead rubber, but it also gives the hosts the opportunity to give personnel on the bench a go with an eye on building towards the T20 WC next year.

The change in winds brought about by the Rohit-Dravid association wasn't hard to miss with the form of R Ashwin, who was making his return to the T20I fold after four years. Not just did he bowl an over in the powerplay, but used his smarts to curb the scoring. With returns of 2-23 and 1-19, he's put himself in contention for the player of the series. Since his return, he's bowled 20 overs and has returned 9 wickets at 11.66 with an economy rate of 5.25. Ashwin had led India's comeback in the back-half of the innings – a period where India have been dominant in the format, only behind West Indies, picking up 59 wickets in 23 games with an economy rate of 8.54 runs an over.

Harshal Patel was impressive on debut with his Man of the Match outing in Ranchi, carrying on from where he'd left off in the IPL with the purple cap. Venkatesh Iyer made his debut in Jaipur, but hasn't had enough time in the middle. Skipper Rohit Sharma, however, said for those that haven't played, “their time will come” and that India needed to look after those picked in the XI.

That said, given that India only plays their next T20I series against South Africa late in January, it poses the question of whether one game is enough time for them between now and then, and if it is opportunity enough.

Meanwhile, New Zealand have struggled on the whole despite dominant periods. Their Achilles heel has been the inability of their batsmen to finish strong despite having had good starts. The top order has performed, but the same can't be said about the middle order. Glenn Phillips, who is the third-highest run-getter in T20 cricket in 2021 hadn't hit his straps as yet in the series. This will be his last chance before the IPL mega auction to impress.

New Zealand's bowling attack too, has barely posed a threat for large parts. Tim Southee was the standout in Ranchi, but lacked support at the other end. The spinners have done their job, but it hasn't been enough to contain India, who opted to chase in both games with Rohit's good fortune at the toss.

When: Sunday, November 21 at 19:00 IST

Where: Eden Gardens, Kolkata

What to expect: Dew will be a factor in Kolkata too, as seen in the opening two T20Is. The team winning the toss will prefer chasing, but if India win the toss for a third time this series, they may want to bat first to test their line-up in unfavourable conditions.

Team News

India:With the series in the bag, it is likely that India will make changes to their XI and give some of the uncapped players like Avesh Khan a go. KL could be rested and Ruturaj Gaikwad could be given a go in the top 3. Harshal Patel already impressed on debut with a Man of the Match performance and Ishan Kishan could be brought in for the final game. Yuzvendra Chahal could be given a look in for either Axar Patel or Ashwin.

Probable XI:Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul/Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant/Ishan Kishan, Venkatesh Iyer, Axar Patel, R Ashwin, Harshal Patel, Deepak Chahar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar/Avesh Khan

New Zealand

New Zealand brought back their A team in the second T20I after having given the players in the fringes an opportunity in the series opener. Despite that, they fell well short. They may, however, bring back Lockie Ferguson for Adam Milne in the final who was rested for the second game after having recovered from injury.

Probable XI:Martin Guptill, Daryl Mitchell, Mark Chapman, Glenn Phillips, Tim Seifert, Jimmy Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Lockie Ferguson/Adam Milne, Trent Boult

Did you know?

– Rohit and Rahul are less than 200 runs away from becoming the most successful opening pair in T20Is and among the 11 pairs with 1000+ partnership runs. None of them score at a quicker rate than these two.

– Ruturaj & Avesh Khan are the leading run-getter and wicket-taker respectively in T20s for India in 2021.

What they said:

It is a young team and the guys haven't played a lot of games. It is important that the guys get time in the middle. It is early to think about changes in the next game. Whatever suits team India, we'll do that. We need to make sure we look after the guys who are playing now. They haven't played a lot either. For the guys who haven't played, their time will come, there are a lot of T20s. – Rohit Sharma, India captain

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