India target grand NZ T20 series finale at 132,000-capacity Ahmedabad Stadium

Country's U19 women's T20 World Cup winners to be honoured ahead of decider on Wednesday

India's Suryakumar Yadav, right, celebrates with captain Hardik Pandya after their win in the second T20 against New Zealand in Lucknow on Sunday, January 29, 2023. AP
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

The T20 series decider between India and New Zealand in Ahmedabad on Wednesday will be a grand occasion on and off the field.

Hardik Pandya's team levelled the series 1-1 after a hard-fought six-wicket win in Lucknow, which went into the history books for the wrong reasons. The Ekana Stadium surface turned out to be exceptionally difficult for batting, with both teams failing to hit a six during the entire game that lasted one ball short of 40 overs.

The pitch came in for scathing criticism from Pandya, which resulted in the ground curator being removed from his post. The Indian team is unhappy with the nature of wickets provided in the first two games, where spinners have become almost impossible to hit.

Both teams will be hoping for better batting conditions when they clash in the decider at the Narendra Modi Stadium. The 132,000-capacity venue in western India will be the perfect setting for the match and a special ceremony before the game begins.

India's cricket board has decided to honour the country's women's U19 team that won the age category T20 World Cup after defeating England in the final in South Africa on Sunday.

The board had earlier announced a cash prize of $600,000 for the victorious women's team and will also honour them before the game on Wednesday, with India batting great Sachin Tendulkar leading the ceremony.

On the pitch, both teams will enter the contest with a sense of belief. India are riding high on the back of a long unbeaten run at home. They beat Sri Lanka in the preceding T20 and ODI series and also won the ODIs against New Zealand. That took their record to an astounding 23 home ODI series wins and only three defeats since 2010.

Victory on Wednesday will hand India their fourth straight white-ball series triumph at home in what is a critical year that will culminate in the 50-over World Cup in the country in October.

India could look to select in-form batsman Prithvi Shaw for the match, given his stupendous record in domestic cricket and the struggles of top-order batsmen. New Zealand are unlikely to make any changes as they almost defeated India in the second T20 despite defending just a 100-run target.

Record crowd of 104,000 watches Gujarat Titans lift IPL 2022 title in Ahmedabad

Updated: January 31, 2023, 10:44 AM