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IND v NZ, 1st ODI Preview: India gear up for the Kiwi challenge after dismantling the Kangaroos

The team balance looks beautiful, but it'll be difficult for Williamson to replicate anything like the World T20 opener at Nagpur last year

Team India
Indian team(Photo credit should read LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/Getty Images)

Aussies were left flattered by a comprehensive performance from India and now, Blackcaps lands in the lion’s den to do something out of the box. Over the last couple of decades, no Indian side managed to maintain this level of consistency in outplaying the opponents and with due respect to the amazing New Zealand side, they will have a really hard time.

They have some brilliant attacking options in the bank, do the Kiwis. There is tons of experience coming in from Ross Taylor, Martin Guptill, Tim Southee, and Kane Williamson and the exuberance of Colin Munro, Mitchell Santner, and Henry Nicholls. The balance looks beautiful, but it’ll be difficult for Williamson to replicate anything like the World T20 opener at Nagpur last year.

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Once again, no signs of Ashwin and Jadeja in the limited overs fixtures, which is a clear indication that Virat is willing to take this spinning trio of Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, and Yuzvendra Chahal to the 2019 World Cup. The likes of Mohammad Shami and Umesh Yadav are unable to break into the side, which speaks volumes of the competition currently.

Weighing the positives and negatives, player to player comparisons and recent performances, India looks like the firm favorites to triumph. Yet, they can disregard the New Zealand side at their own peril. An exciting series awaits the fans and the opener hosted by the iconic Wankhede is a perfect icing on the cake.

Toss: India won the toss and opted to bat

Captains quotes

Virat Kohli: We are going to bat first. It looks a good wicket, conditions are pretty hot out there and it will be tough out there for everybody. It looks a batting paradise but should have more bounce than other surfaces in India. We want to maximise the batting conditions first up.

Kane Williamson: Very humid of course. Nice to come here early to adjust to it. Really good surface, we would have batted first as well but will now look to exploit the early swing on. (On the squad) Couple of new faces in the middle order, Henry Nicholls and Colin de Grandhomme as well. Some exciting talent, Tom Latham taking the gloves and batting in the middle order. Mix of experience and youth in the side, we do have good experience in the bowling too. We are sticking with our experienced pace attack, Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Adam Milne. One spinner, three seamers and a few all-rounders is our team balance.

Playing XI

New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Kane Williamson(c), Ross Taylor, Tom Latham(w), Henry Nicholls, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Adam Milne, Tim Southee, Trent Boult

India: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli(c), Dinesh Karthik, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni(w), Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal

Focus will be on

Shikhar Dhawan (India)

The Gabbar is back in the side and unfortunately for Ajinkya Rahane, he sits out. Dhawan’s ODI record has been terrific this year. He is tailor-made for ODIs as he likes maintaining a strike-rate of 85-95. This strike-rate is too high for Test matches and below par for T20s. That’s one reason we don’t see him so comfortable in other formats. Yet, this is something he relishes and if he gets going, Wankhede is about to get some blistering entertainment.

Colin Munro (New Zealand)

Highly under-rated, but sublime when he gets going. Colin Munro is one of the most exciting talents and it’s a great joy watching him bat. He has an unusual stance and an unorthodox technique, yet, he gets the result and gets them at a brisk pace. A powerful striker of the cricket ball, Munro can clear the biggest of ground even without connecting the ball well. It’ll be interesting to see how he approaches as an opener.

Playing combinations

India

Shikhar Dhawan is back at the helm of the order alongside the on song Rohit Sharma, with Virat Kohli being the number 3. Dinesh Karthik might sneak into the XI after Manish Pandey’s dismal show in recent times and MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, and Kedar Jadhav will be comprising the middle.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been a revelation in the Powerplay and in the death overs, same is the case with Jasprit Bumrah. Both these players are the backbone of their bowling unit. Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav will be the operating spinners, with Kedar Jadhav and Hardik Pandya being the all-rounders.

New Zealand

Colin Munro and Martin Guptill are the new openers for New Zealand and regular opener Tom Latham has been pushed down in the order. Kane Williamson will come  in at 3 and Ross Taylor at 4. Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, and Colin de Grandhomme will form the lower middle.

Trent Boult and Tim Southee are the new ball bowlers and they’ll be bowling a lot in the death as well. Colin de Grandhomme is another fast bowling option and it’ll be interesting to see how his skipper uses him. Williamson is likely to opt for two spinners in Santner and Ish Sodhi.

StatAttack

4 – Jasprit Bumrah is 4 scalps short of 50 Test wickets.

200 – Virat Kohli will be appearing in his 200th ODI on Sunday.

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