Thiruvananthapuram, November 6: During the one-day series, Bhuvneshwar Kumar had said New Zealand challenged India unlike any other team in the recent past.
Despite the compact nature of the series (3 ODIs and 3 T20Is), the pacer's words were closer to truth than ever. Prior to the series against the New Zealand, England Sri Lanka and Australia were brushed aside with effortless ease.
But New Zealand, the most underrated international team, ran India close in the one-day series. It required exceptional death over spells by Bhuvneshwar and Jasprit Bumrah for India to clinch the ODI series even after hundreds by Rohit Sharma and captain Virat Kohli leading the hosts to a massive total.
The T20 series too offered a similar script. India had won the first T20I match in New Delhi with consummate ease. But an excellent second T20I hundred by Colin Munro helped New Zealand to level the series 1-1 at Rajkot.
Had the recent parameter been applied, India should have brushed aside Kane Williamson's side but they showed admirable presence of mind to beat a team that is impregnable in home conditions.
Now, in the deciding third T20I at Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday (November 7), the storyline could not be any different that of course the weather relenting in Kerala's capital city.
The met office predicted possible rain on the match day. The city has received good amount of rain in the last couple of days and sharp spells could be expected on the morrow as well.
The pitch at the venue is a complete stranger for both the teams as this is the first international match here.
However, the Kerala Cricket Association officials said this could be a high scoring game.
"K Sriram, the BCCI curator from Bengaluru, is assisting us with the pitch preparation. We are expecting this could be a good scoring game and the outfield here is quick helping batsmen to get maximum value out of their shots," said Jayesh George, secretary of KCA.
India will be eager to win the series to avoid a black spot on their otherwise brilliant home run. New Zealand would like to return with a series win from a country that visiting teams often find out to be a caged hell.
Rest assured, the match is set to produce some sparks. Weather Gods please relent.
When and where
Live: Star Sports 1 and 3
From 7 pm.