HAMILTON, January 28: A ruthless India are expected to seal their maiden T20 International series win in New Zealand and only a special comeback from the struggling hosts in the third game here on Wednesday can delay what seems inevitable.
India won the twin T20 Internationals in Auckland by margins of six and seven wickets respectively to go 2-0 up in the five-match series.
A third successive win at Seddon Park will give them their first ever T20I series’ win on New Zealand soil, a feat they were unable to achieve on two occasions previously. India lost 0-2 under Mahendra Singh Dhoni back in 2008-09, and last year, they went down 1-2.
Overall, this Indian side has seen an uptick in fortunes and are unbeaten in five T20 series since the 2019 ODI World Cup, including the ongoing one against the Black Caps. The only contest they didn’t win was against South Africa, when the three-match series ended 1-1 after one of the games was washed out.
However, their current winning form in T20I cricket won’t lead to any meaningful change in the ICC rankings. India are currently placed fifth in the T20I rankings, and need to win the remaining three matches – this series 5-0 – to move up to fourth from their current fifth spot.
New Zealand are currently placed sixth. Pakistan, Australia, England and South Africa, in that order, sit ahead in the rankings’ table.
The greater concern at present is building towards the T20 World Cup to be hosted in Australia later this year. In that regard though, the team management is quietly confident that various pieces of the jigsaw puzzle are starting to fall into place, and at the right time.
This is specifically boosted by the performances of KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer over the recent months, particularly on tour thus far.
As such, there are no changes to be expected in the Indian line-up for the third T20. On Tuesday, there was an optional practice session with skipper Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah, the ones missing in action. (PTI)