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A series of poor performances by India against New Zealand has given birth to a new cricketing rivalry - the one between India and New Zealand. This rivalry may not be as fierce as the one between India and Pakistan, it is growing with every passing match.
As a part of the ongoing bilateral series between the two sides, India are all set to take on New Zealand in the third and final match of the series. The series is already done and dusted and we might see some of the youngsters getting a go. Regardless, both sides would want to register a win here for different reasons.
This match will be played at the iconic venue of Eden Gardens Cricket Ground, Kolkata on 21st November 2021. This lone match will act as a preparatory ground for the World Cup that is to be played next year and the players will have a massive incentive to do well here. We expect a cracking contest in this upcoming match as well.
It wasn't long ago when India faced a major setback with twin wins at the hands of Pakistan and New Zealand, but a lot has changed since then. India are now playing under a new captain with a new coach taking the charge of things. Even though India are playing without their top players, the combination of Rahul Dravid and Rohit Sharma is beginning to look good already.
India failed to qualify for the knockouts in the World Cup and were disappointed and their hunger has been evident in the two matches they have played in this series. With the bat, the opening pair of KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma has been splendid. We have also seen Suryakumar Yadav score a fifty in the series and that just highlights the form India's batting has been in.
India have two issues that they will want to test. First, they have still not batted first in the series and it could be an altogether different challenge. Besides, India's middle-order has not been tested yet and it would be interesting to see how it fares when India's top-order is not able to contribute much.
With the series already won, India will certainly be tempted to test the likes of Avesh Khan and Ruturaj Gaikwad. We may well see both of them play in the upcoming match. Other than that, India are likely to go in with more or less the same side they played in the last match. On paper, India have a formidable side and the advantage of playing in home conditions just magnifies that advantage. India have a good chance to script a white-wash here and they are able to play to their potential, they should be able to do that with significant ease.
Rohit Sharma, Ishan Kishan, SA Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, RR Pant, Venkatesh Iyer, Axar Patel, YS Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Harshal Patel.
New Zealand had a terrific run in the recently concluded T20 World Cup, but that is history now. In this series, they are lagging 2-0 and will desperately want something to go their way before they head into the longest format of the game. In the grand scheme of things, they have had a good time in the last few weeks, but they will be tired.
Not only do New Zealand are and looked tired in the two matches, but they are also plagued with injuries. Devon Conway, who got injured in the World Cup, is still not fully fit and Lokie Ferguson has just recovered. Besides, Tim Southee and Trent Boult have both been around for a long time and will certainly be experiencing the impact of fatigue.
Having said that - the other players, who have not had a lot of cricket to play of late, would really relish this opportunity in the upcoming match. We have already seen the likes of Mitchell Santner and Mark Chapman do well with the bat and they would want to put up another strong performance to top the series off.
In the series so far, New Zealand batting has certainly punched way below what they are capable of. In the second ODI, they looked all set to score a mammoth total before their middle-order scored runs at a pedestrian pace. On the bowling front, New Zealand have looked listless in both the matches and will need something special to challenge this in-form Indian unit.
On paper, New Zealand have a well-balanced side, but the fatigue is certainly impacting their performances. This would be the last match for a few of the players before the two sides head to lock horns in the longest format of the game and they all would want to impress the selectors before heading home. All in all, New Zealand have got the power in the bank and if they are able to play to their potential in this upcoming match, getting past would be difficult for this Indian side.
Martin Guptill, Daryl Mitchell, Mark Chapman, GD Phillips, Tim Seifert, James Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Lockie Ferguson, Ish Sodhi, Adam Milne, Trent Boult.
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This may be a dead rubber in the context of the series or otherwise, but both sides would still want to do well here. Besides, it will be an opportunity for the younger players to show their skills to the selectors and the fans. India are likely to make a few changes and that might just give New Zealand an opening they are looking for. Having said that, India still seems to be a better side on paper, at least in home conditions. Considering that and the way things have gone in the series so far, betting on an India win should be the way to go here.
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