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Final T20: India to play 3rd T20 against New Zealand at Eden Gardens, Kolkata today:  India’s focus on clean sweep

Team India is determined to win third and final match of the three – match T20 series between India and New Zealand at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata today and sweep the series clean. India have already won two matches in a row in this series. Achieving this will mark the beginning of Rohit-Dravid’s new era

India won the 1st T20I by 5 wickets and the 2nd by 7 to take a 2-0 series lead

This series win is India’s third vs New Zealand in T20Is and second in a row in 2021

India have whitewashed New Zealand once before in T20Is, when they won 5-0 in Feb this year

Kolkata: Team India will look to go for the clean sweep and close out the series against New Zealand with a win when the two teams face off in the final match in Kolkata on Sunday. The hosts won the first-two matches by a comfortable margin and will be eyeing a similar performance at the Eden Gardens on November 22.

The series win is India’s third against New Zealand in T20 internationals and their second in succession after the 5-0 sweep Down Under earlier this year. It’s also Rohit Sharma’s first series triumph after becoming India’s permanent captain in the shortest format.

The script has been flawless so far and before Rohit goes into the break, a 3-0 annihilation of New Zealand in ‘City of Joy’, where he once scored an epic 264 in an ODI, will be like the icing on the cake.

The Men in Blue have been performing like a well-oiled machine ever since Rohit and new coach Rahul Dravid despite not having Virat Kohli in the side. They won the first match by 5 wickets and the second by 7 but might look bat first and try to defend a score in the series-finale if Rohit wins the toss.

Another thing which India might do is test their inexperienced bench by giving Ruturaj Gaikwad and the uncapped Avesh Khan a chance in Kolkata, just to see if they have what it takes to perform at the highest level after their stellar shows in the recent Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 in the United Arab Emirates.

Gaikwad, who came into the series with an Orange Cap in the IPL might get a look-in in the top-three where he is the most comfortable batting. But for that to happen, either skipper himself or his deputy KL Rahul might have to take a rest for the game, which is more of academic interest and gives an ideal premise to check the bench strength.

Similarly, the exciting Avesh Khan could be tried in place of either Deepak Chahar or Bhuvneshwar Kumar while Yuzvendra Chahal wouldn’t mind getting a game in place of Axar Patel or Ravichandran Ashwin.

For coach Rahul Dravid, a dominant performance in these matches will also help him settle the nerves into the new role before the marquee Test series against the same rivals starting in less than a week’s time.

Having already won the series, Rohit and Dravid will now like to maintain a fine balance between winning and also trying out all their available resources to see how each and every individual is placed.

For New Zealand, it’s more about completing the assignment after a punishing schedule that will see them play five games (since the T20 WC semi-final) in less than two weeks.

The inhuman scheduling means that a 0-3 defeat without the services of skipper Kane Williamson will bruise egos but not deflate them as results of bilaterals count very little in the long run.

Eden Gardens is expected to be a batting beauty and in November, dew is undoubtedly going to make it easy for any team batting second. Dew did played a role in the first-two games in Jaipur and Ranchi as winter sets in India.

Captains preferring chasing on this ground because of this very reason with 160 being the average score on this pitch. The iconic stadium has hosted 77 T20s till date in which 46 times the team chasing has won as compared to 31 victories for the batting side.


India Rohit Sharma (captain), KL Rahul (vc), Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wk), Shreyas Iyer, Venkatesh Iyer, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel, Deepak Chahar, Avesh Khan, Mohd Siraj, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ishan Kishan.

New Zealand Tim Southee (captain), Todd Astle, Trent Boult, Mark Chapman, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Adam Milne, Daryl Mitchell, Jimmy Neesham, Glenn Phillips, Mitchell Santner, Tim Seifert and Ish Sodh

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