In Stats: Milestone Beckons Virat Kohli in Series Decider vs NZ
The Greenfield International Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram is ready to host a cracking contest when India and New Zealand take the field on Tuesday. The 3-match T20 International series between the two teams has played out similar to how the one-day series prior to this series played out.
In the ODI series, both teams shared honours in the first two matches, setting up the scene for the decider. Team India clinched the early advantage by winning the series opener, but the visitors came back strongly by winning the second match in Rajkot. It makes up for a cracking decider – which will be the first-ever international match to be played at the Greenfield International Stadium.
A spell or two of showers are expected around the time of the match, but Kerala Cricket Association Secretary Jayesh George was reported as saying the outfield at the venue would drain quickly and the stadium had all the wherewithal to ensure that play could begin quickly once the rains abated.
"The super soppers and other facilities are all there and even if it rains during the match time, in 10 minutes after the rain stops, the match will be able to resume," IANS quoted George as saying.
Opening Pair to Set Tempo
There has been a pattern to the teams’ success in this series. In the first T20I, Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan put the Blackcaps bowlers to the sword, stitched together a 158-run opening stand and powered Team India to a massive total.
In the second match, the Kiwis returned the favour – with Martin Guptill and Colin Munro tearing into the Indian bowling and stitching together a 105-run opening stand. One expects the openers will hold the key yet again and set the tempo.
Rohit Needs to Survive Boult’s Spell
Rohit Sharma has scored plenty of runs against left-arm quicks, but he has also had difficulties against them. Given his lack of footwork early on, the away-going delivery can trouble Rohit, and it is therefore important that the Mumbai batsman sees off the early spell of Trent Boult, who in the previous match derailed India’s chase right at the start.
Virat Kohli – The Match-winner
The one other individual in the Indian line-up who can have a significant bearing on the outcome of the match is Virat Kohli. India’s captain and one-drop batsman averages an incredible 69.58 in India’s wins in T20Is.
No other batsman who has batted at least 25 innings in the format boasts of such a superior average.
Milestone Beckons for Virat Kohli
The Indian captain, who turned 29 on Sunday, is 57 runs short of aggregating of 2,000 runs in T20 Internationals. If he does score 57 on Tuesday, he will become only the second man in the history of T20Is to reach the milestone.
Just how good has Virat been? If he gets there on Tuesday, he will reach the milestone in his 51st innings. Brendon McCullum – the only man to have previously reached that milestone got there in his 66th innings!
Where the visitors are concerned, they will hope Colin Munro can continue to cause damage with the willow.
The 30-year old, who was the Trinbago Knight Riders’ top run-getter in their successful CPL 2017 campaign earlier this year, in the previous match became only the second cricketer after Australia’s Shane Watson to do the treble of scoring a century, taking a wicket and pouching a catch in a T20 International match.
Team India Need to Prise Out Left-handers
Team India are not only having trouble with left-arm bowlers but also need to find a way to keep the left-hand batsmen in the opposition quiet. If one looks back at the entire Blackcaps tour of India, left-hand batsmen have top-scored for the Kiwis in each of the five matches and have scored more runs than the right-hand batsmen.
On this current tour of India, the Kiwi left-handers have scored a total of 628 runs (including 2 centuries and 2 half-centuries), while the right-hand batsmen have scored a total of 497 runs.
Team India’s Impressive Record in Deciders
Unlike in the 50-over format where team India has a mixed bag of results in knockouts or deciders, in T20Is team India has been pretty successful while competing in deciders or knockouts. They’ve won 4 of the 5 deciders/knockouts they’ve played in, since 2016.
Team India’s recent form in deciders, along with the fact that they will have home support, makes them favourites.
The Kiwis are the currently the top-ranked team in the ICC T20I rankings; a defeat in this match will see them surrender the top spot to Pakistan. Who will prevail in this contest and clinch the series?
Follow live updates from the match in our live blog here. The first ball will be bowled at 7 pm IST.
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