New Zealand somehow managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory for the second T20I in the bounce. The Black Caps needed only seven runs from the final over to win the fourth match of their series against India at Wellington.
However, the home side lost four wickets, which resulted in a Super Over for the second-straight game. India held their composure unlike their opponents to chase down the 14 runs required in the eliminator to secure the victory.
Virat Kohli and his team will be targeting a 5-0 whitewash to complete the series, sending them into the ODIs with momentum. New Zealand have to pick themselves up once again to try to restore a semblance of pride, although it will be easier said than done at Mount Maunganui.
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New Zealand fared well without Kane Williamson in the fourth T20I of the series. He missed out with a shoulder injury, but Colin Munro and Tim Seifert rose to the occasion for 19 of the 20 overs. However, as Williamson failed to guide his team over the line in Hamilton, Seifert was unable to do in Wellington. It was another horrific collapse by the Black Caps’ lower order and they may have to reconsider their batting line-up in the future to ensure that those issues are no longer a problem. Scott Kuggeleijn was solid with the ball after opening the bowling alongside Tim Southee.
Ish Sodhi came to the fore, taking three wickets in the contest. However, his miserly spell was not enough given the struggles of Hamish Bennett, who was once again expensive from his four overs. There are not many places to turn for fresh ideas. Martin Guptill has to find his form at the top of the innings given the uncertainty of Williamson’s fitness. He will be a strong candidate to lead the run column.
India have been fortunate to secure four wins on the bounce. It is not often that teams will win from the positions that they have found themselves in the 20th over in the last two matches. However, they’ve held their composure and that will be very important come the World T20 at the end of the year in Australia. Rohit Sharma was rested for the contest as Sanju Samson came into the side, opening alongside Lokesh Rahul. Samson failed to grasp the opportunity, while Shivam Dube and Shreyas Iyer continued their struggles. Manish Pandey scored a vital fifty in the lower order and may have enhanced his case for a promotion. India’s batting line-up is still not firing on all cylinders.
Jasprit Bumrah returned to his best at Wellington with a fine spell, taking 1-20 in his four overs. Shardul Thakur proved his mettle when it mattered the most in the final over, striking twice to deny New Zealand victory. India will need alternate options and he has staked a claim for a permanent place in the side. Yuzvendra Chahal was underwhelming and could be replaced by Kuldeep Yadav for the final match of the series.
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The weather should be a perfect day in Mount Maunganui on Sunday for the contest. It is forecast to be sunny throughout the day with a high of 29°c in the afternoon, while the temperature will dip to 19°c at night. A cricket player cannot ask for better conditions to play the game. The pitch should be excellent as well as the outfield. It should be a good day for the batsmen, while the spinners could also benefit from the dry conditions.
If picking themselves on the mat after one Super Over defeat was bad enough, New Zealand will have to find some way of doing it again. They should be level heading into the final match of the series, but they enter Mount Maunganui aiming to avoid a whitewash. The home side have played well in spurts and they have also seen some fine individual performances. Unfortunately, it has not been enough and there doesn’t seem to be a way for them to avoid a fifth-straight loss.
India will not want to take their foot off the gas. Even Kohli has admitted that his team have not been at their best, but they’ve managed to produce in the crux moments of the last two games. He has not been firing on all cylinders, while the rest of the India batting line-up has been relatively quiet. The tourists have a complete performance in them and it would be fitting for them to sign off from the T20s with a dominant display.
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Virat Kohli has been too quiet in the series to date, notching a highest score of 45. It would be very unusual of the India skipper to not make his mark with at least one substantial innings.
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