India, New Zealand set for high-scoring game in T20 decider at Thiruvananthapuram

The Greenfield Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram will become India’s 50th international cricket venue on Tuesday when India take on New Zealand in the deciding third and final T20 International.

india vs new zealand 2017 Updated: Nov 05, 2017 18:25 IST
Sandip Sikdar
Sandip Sikdar
India vs New Zealand,Indian Cricket team,New Zealand Cricket team
The Greenfield Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram will host the third India vs New Zealand T20 on Tuesday. (HT Photo)

International cricket is set to return to the capital of ‘God’s Own Country’ for the first time in almost three decades at a new stadium with lush outfield.

Set in Kariavattom, a suburb of Thiruvananthapuram dotted with coconut trees, the multi-purpose Greenfield Stadium will become India’s 50th international cricket venue on Tuesday when India take on New Zealand in the deciding third and final Twenty20 International.

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The last time an international cricket game was played in the state capital was when the Viv Richards-led West Indies thrashed India in the final ODI at the University Stadium to win the series 6-1 on January 25, 1988. Interestingly, current India coach Ravi Shastri was leading the hosts back then and now has a chance to set the record straight.

Little promotion

Take a drive around the city and you’ll barely see any promotion for Tuesday’s game. But Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) secretary Jayesh George says there is no need for it.

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“The 42,000 capacity stadium will be full. We are expecting a good crowd. All the tickets were sold out in 3-4 days. Everything is in order and we expect a very good game of cricket,” George told Hindustan Times.

Batting track

The first event that the Greenfield Stadium held was the 2015 National Games -- the opening and closing ceremonies -- followed by the SAFF Cup football later that year. But come Tuesday, the venue is expected to produce many runs on a quick outfield.

“It is going to be a good batting wicket with a quick outfield. BCCI curator K Sriram from Karnataka is coordinating and helping us put the final touches. They wanted to see how the newly-laid wicket behaves so we held a practice match 3-4 days back. It turned out to be a high-scoring one. They are very happy with the ground. I would say it is a ‘win toss, bat first wicket’,” George added.

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Another KCA official told Hindustan Times that the distance from the pitch to the boundary will be approximately 70 yards, which is 64 metres – meaning sixes and fours will be served on the menu quite regularly.

Tendulkar, Mohan Lal may attend

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and incumbent Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor will also attend the match.

Batting legend Sachin Tendulkar, who owns Indian Super League (ISL) outfit Kochi Blasters, and Malayalam movie star Mohan Lal, who inaugurated the ticket sales, are also likely to attend.

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“Mohan Lal is shooting but he has said he will try to come because he is from Thiruvananthapuram. Other film stars may also come but we will get to know tomorrow. The CM is the chief patron for the match,” said George.

The security will also be beefed up with as many as 3,000 police personnel on duty on match day.

The India and New Zealand teams will arrive here late on Sunday night and will stay at a luxury hotel.

First Published: Nov 05, 2017 17:40 IST