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NZ v India 5th T20I Preview: Rampaging Men in Blue look to make it 5-0 despite testing bench strength


The scoreline might show 4-0, but it is not as if New Zealand have surrendered. The Kiwis will definitely want to avoid the clean sweep embarrassment in their home conditions.

Venue - Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui

Start time - 07:00 AM GMT | 08:00 PM LOCAL | 12:30 PM IST

Head to Head record in T20Is - New Zealand: 8 India: 7 Tied: 0 No Result: 0

Weather - Partly Cloudy, 28°C, Precipitation: 10%, Humidity: 60%, Wind: 27 km/h

The strong wind from one side will be a tactical ploy for both teams to harness, both in choosing the end and picking the boundary to target.

The picturesque and windy Mount Maunganui awaits

The picturesque Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui is ready to host the fifth and the final T20I of the series. Like most cities in New Zealand, the host city of Tauranga will be a pleasant surprise for the Indian players, specially those visiting for the first time.

Just like the last match in Hamilton, wind will play a big role in the match. The effect of the wind here is augmented due to the ground being open on all sides. The players will not only have to keep the size of the boundaries in mind but the direction of the wind as well as it has a substantial say in decision making.

The strong wind might make it difficult for the bowlers to control the ball and hence, deciding the correct end to bowl from will be an important call to take. The pitch will not offer as much pace and bounce as was the case in the 4th T20I and subcontinent-like conditions will be on offer.

The 'pride' talk is back

With New Zealand going into the last match of the series 0-4 down, all the talk about pride is back. New Zealand certainly have pride to play for and they would try their best to avoid a white wash in home conditions.

It is notable that India had not won a T20I series ever in New Zealand before this and have come on the verge of a clean sweep this time around.

That said, New Zealand have not played poorly but have faltered on big moments. It was only in the 2nd T20I that the team got out for 130-odd and was out of the game for the most part. Other than that, they have given India a fight in all the remaining matches. If India come out with the mindset of giving opportunities to young players, the Kiwis can well make it 4-1.

Rejig in the Kiwi batting order

For the longest time, it was Ross Taylor who batted at number 4 with all-rounders Colin de Grandhomme and Jimmy Neesham following him. However, the Kiwis recently changed their tactics and started sending de Grandhomme at number 4, with Taylor coming into bat at 5.

Tim Seifert had initially joined the team as an opener but has now been pushed to 6. With both Kane Williamson and Colin de Grandhomme out of the playing XI in the last match, Seifert came out to bat at one drop and compiled a brilliant half-century.

It was evident that he is more comfortable at the top of the order as this is what he has been doing for his domestic side as well. Kane Williamson is expected to back for this match and will bat at number 3 which should mean that the wicketkeeper is slotted at number 4. This will make for a strong top 5.

Not too many changes

Rishabh Pant and Kuldeep Yadav are the two players in the Indian squad who have not got a game till now. Kuldeep is not expected to be a part of the playing XI and the team is likely to continue with Yuzvendra Chahal. The chinaman bowler may get to play the entire ODI series.

It would really be tempting to play Rishabh Pant as despite his poor outings behind the wickets, he remains an explosive batsman who can change the course of the match on his own. The question is, in whose place does he come in?

Sanju Samson, who got an opportunity in the fourth T20I, would ideally play this match as well. With Rohit Sharma already resting, Pant can come in the place of Virat Kohli, but who'll captain the side then? KL Rahul can also rest but that would change the entire skeleton of the team. Hence, it is likely that India do not make any changes.

For New Zealand, Kane Williamson, if fully recovered from his shoulder injury, will be the only change. Williamson will replace New Zealand A skipper Tom Bruce.

Here's a look at the probable playing XI of both teams:

New Zealand - Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Kane Williamson (c), Tim Seifert (wk), Ross Taylor, Daryl Mitchell, Mitchell Santner, Scott Kuggeleijn, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Hamish Bennett

India - Sanju Samson, Lokesh Rahul (wk), Virat Kohli (c), Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Shivam Dube, Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah/Mohammad Shami, Navdeep Saini

This is where you can catch all the live action across the globe:

India & Subcontinent: Star Sports, DD National (DD1), DD Sports, Hotstar
New Zealand: SKY Sport NZ
UK: Sky Sports Cricket
Australia: Fox Sports
South Africa: SuperSport
Canada: ATN Cricket Plus (Asian Television Network), CBN
USA: Willow TV, Hotstar
Malaysia: Astro Cricket HD
Middle East and North Africa (MENA): OSN Sports Cricket HD
Bangladesh: Gazi TV (GTV)

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