India v New Zealand
Sunday 21 November, 13:30
TV: live on Sky Sports
India to shuffle
India have an unassailable 2-0 lead. And it was an easy chase last time out in Ranchi, a venue with a chunky bias for the team batting second. Oh for such fortune in the T20 World Cup.
It would make sense if India made some changes. Perhaps Venkatesh Iyer should get a chance as opener instead of KL Rahul. Or Ishan Kishan could come in.
When chopping and changing it is clear that India have picked an imbalanced squad. With Ruturak Gaikwad also available they have five different opening batsmen and no lower-order power. Shreyas Iyer, an anchor, looks likely to be in the finishing role which is just not his suit.
With the ball Delhi Capitals pacer Avesh Khan could get a game in place of Bhuv Ku-mar.
Possible XI Rahul, Rohit, Venkatesh, Yadav, Pant, Iyer, Axar, Ashwin, D Chahar, Harshal, Avesh.
New Zealand limited
Having demanded a fast start in the powerplay, New Zealand duly got one. And then threw away a solid platform for a troubling score at the back end.
Martin Guptill had found his range to set things up for his team-mates but, as suggested in our preview for game two, a lack of faith in the middle- and lower-order is justified.
If Jimmy Neesham doesn't reproduce World Cup form they are in trouble as he sits in be-tween Tim Seifert and Micthell Santner. Both of these two just don't look up to it at this level.
Santner could well be replaced by Todd Astle. Lockie Ferguson is expected to come in for Adam Milne. Trent Boult plays his last game of the tour. Reminder; Kane Williamson will play in the Tests only.
Possible XI Guptill, Mitchell, Chapman, Philips, Seifert, Neesham, Astle, Southee, Fergu-son, Boult, Sodhi
Despite Kolkata Knight Rider's nerveless chasing ability, there is no advantage to batting second at Eden Gardens. In the last 17 matches (going back to IPL 2019), it's fifty-fifty split with one tie.
It's a good batting track, though. Of those matches, 11 first-innings saw scores of 160 or more. Each of the seven in the IPL has seen both teams bust 160 or more and six matches saw both busting 170 or more.
Both teams to score 160 is priced at 11/10 with Betfair Sportsbook. We'll instead play safe (worries about the Kiwi batting again) and hope India get the chance to bat first. We should be able to get long of their innings runs on the par line at 167.5.
Plenty of potential for movement
India are 1.351/3 with New Zealand 3.7011/4. We expect India to win again but that doesn't mean there can't be profitable movement in New Zealand's price.
That fast start in Ranchi gave room for a trade and on a better surface batting first some punters will reckon the Kiwis can reel in India. With 170 at the break the market may well overestimate their chances.
If they go past that, we'd be looking to get with India at odds-against. But Kiwis would need 180 or more. And that's fine. India to chase up to 200 is on the cards.
Rohit Sharma averages 40 on this ground at a strike rate of 141. That record - couple with the knowledge that the surface is flat - makes the 8/1 about a man of the match award appeal for the India skipper and opener. He is 4/1 for top match bat and has been boosted for 3/1 for top India bat.
Rahul gets a quote of 11/4 for top India bat, 9/2 for top match bat and 9/1 for man of the match. For New Zealand we still think Daryl Mitchell is underrated at 4/1 for top New Zealand runscorer, the same price as Mark Chapman and Glen Philips, the Nos 3 and 4.
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