Big picture: Gaikwad injured, Shaw set to wait his turn
Rohit Sharma has no plans of giving up on T20Is yet. Rahul Dravid is “not aware” if India have any plans of split captaincy; asked about this during a press conference before the third ODI, he asked the reporter to check with the selectors. But for now, this is Hardik Pandya‘s team. Since the 2022 T20 World Cup, this will be the third successive T20I series where he will be leading India.
In the fast-bowling department, Umran Malik and Shivam Mavi will have another opportunity to build on their performances against Sri Lanka.
Apart from Lockie Ferguson, their pace attack is also thin on experience. Ben Lister and Henry Shipley are uncapped in the format, while Blair Tickner and Jacob Duffy have played only 14 and eight T20Is, respectively. The good news for them is that Ish Sodhi is fit, and he has great numbers in India: 16 wickets from ten games and an economy of 6.64.
India WLWTW (last five completed T20Is, most recent first)
New Zealand TLLWL
In the spotlight: Shubman Gill and Finn Allen
Shubman Gill has had an excellent start to his ODI career but he is only three games old in T20Is, having made his debut during the Sri Lanka series. He had a good IPL for Gujarat Titans last year; he was the fifth-highest run-getter in the tournament but played more of an anchor’s role, scoring at 132.32. He didn’t have a great time during the Sri Lanka series, and usually takes his time to cut loose. For now, he has the backing of the team management but Shaw will be hot on his heels, especially if he slips up.
India (probable): 1 Shubman Gill, 2 Ishan Kishan (wk), 3 Rahul Tripathi, 4 Suryakumar Yadav, 5 Hardik Pandya (capt), 6 Deepak Hooda, 7 Washington Sundar, 8 Shivam Mavi, 9 Umran Malik, 10 Arshdeep Singh, 11 Kuldeep Yadav/Yuzvendra Chahal
New Zealand (probable): 1 Finn Allen, 2 Devon Conway (wk), 3 Mark Chapman, 4 Glenn Phillips, 5 Daryl Mitchell, 6 Michael Bracewell, 7 Mitchell Santner (capt), 8 Blair Tickner, 9 Ish Sodhi, 10 Ben Lister, 11 Lockie Ferguson
Pitch and conditions: Win the toss and bowl
Ranchi is a bowl-first venue, with chasing teams winning 16 of the 25 T20 games hosted here. With dew expected to play a big role in the second innings, captains should have no hesitation in opting to bowl after winning the toss, unless they want to challenge their bowlers. It should be a cool evening, with the temperature hovering around 15°C.