India aim to sign off in style in Hamilton

“It’ll be a cracker of a game in Hamilton.”

Rohit Sharma signed off by saying this in Wellington and his statement needs no validation. The series is locked at 1-1 with India eyeing to add another silverware to their kitty before boarding the flight back home.

Before the marathon, four-month-long tour comes to an end, we bring you closer towards what one can expect in the series decider on Sunday.

From the Indian dugout:

The visitors will be completely happy with the way Rohit and Shikhar Dhawan played in the second T20I. Rohit has 102 sixes to his name and needs two more to overhaul Martin Guptill and Chris Gayle to become the leading six-hitter in T20Is.

Dhawan will be hoping to convert his start into a big score before signing off. The likes of Rishabh Pant and MS Dhoni will fit in the middle order with Vijay Shankar’s place in doubt. He hasn’t done too bad for a batting all-rounder but the fact that he has not been given the ball makes a case for him playing as a specialist batsman.

India have Shubman Gill and Kedar Jadhav waiting in the wings. Dinesh Karthik, too, could lose his place for India to accommodate Kuldeep Yadav.

The inclusion of the senior Pandya has given the Men in Blue that extra batting cushion which may allow Rohit with the luxury to play a specialist bowler.

The bowling department could also see a change where either Siddharth Kaul or Mohammed Siraj could get a game in place of Khaleel Ahmed.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Hardik Pandya will be the other two-seam bowling options.

From the New Zealand dugout:

The Kiwis have a lot to prove on their home turf. They wouldn’t want an Indian side minus Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah beating them in their own backyard.

The concern starts from the top. Colin Munro’s lack of form has resulted in him being dropped from the starting two Bangladesh ODIs. This is, in many ways, his last chance to make a mark considering the fifty-over World Cup is not too far away.

On the flipside, another good knock from Tim Seifert will do no harm to his chances of being picked in the XI.

The lack of form from Williamson and Taylor has hurt them the most. Their best players against spin need to step up. Daryl Mitchell should keep his place while the Blackcaps could drop their out of form pacer, Scott Kuggeleijn, to bring in James Neesham.

This, in turn, will bolster their batting. Colin de Grandhomme displayed what he’s capable of and makes for a great number six with his big hitting skills.

Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi should keep their place along with the ever impressive Tim Southee.

New Zealand’s most effective bowler, Lockie Ferguson, may be rested. Central Districts’ fast bowler Blair Tickner is the likely candidate to get a go in his place.

Overall, the teams look equally balanced and we’ll be in for a great contest on a Super Sunday.

The match begins at 12.30 PM IST on February 10.