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New Zealand vs India, 1st ODI, Preview: A bigger battle awaits for the visitors in Napier

India will have to make some tough calls for the series opener.

Kane Williamson and Virat Kohli
Kane Williamson and Virat Kohli. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Team India has been on a roll of late with Test and ODI series wins in Australia. But, they’ll now be up against a much bigger challenge in the form of New Zealand. The five-match ODI series between these two sides begins on 23 January 2019 in Napier. With both these sides playing some highly competitive cricket in the last few months both at home and away, the series is going hard-fought one.

New Zealand drew the series against Pakistan in the UAE and then whitewashed Sri Lanka in the 50-over format recently. Most of their players are in exceptional form and are fighting hard for the spots in the side. The Blackcaps, after this series, will only play another three ODIs before the World Cup 2019. Hence, this series is an extremely critical one for them as they will take on a relatively weaker Bangladesh side next.

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At the same time, India is not far behind with their top-three batsmen being in the usual destructive form. Moreover, with some of the other experienced players getting into their zone, the side looks well-rounded. As far as the visitors are concerned, they’ll play Australia again in a five-match series in India later on in February and March. The focus will be to narrow down on the 15 players that they’re possibly backing to play the World Cup.

Team Combinations

New Zealand

New Zealand has got the problem of plenty as the first ODI beckons. Every player in the line-up is in outstanding form and it isn’t easy to leave out any. With Tom Latham and Mitchell Santner back, it seems a daunting task to fit in all the players. Hence, they might have a take a call between Tom Latham and Henry Nicholls. Latham might get the first nod as he was rested after the Tests against Sri Lanka and needs some match practice under his belt. Things will only get tougher for the management when James Neesham also returns from the injury.

Predicted XI: Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Kane Williamson (c), Ross Taylor, Tom Latham (wk), Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Trent Boult, Lockie Ferguson, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi.

India

India will have to make some tough calls for the series opener. While the top three are never an issue, problems start from number four. It is tough to accommodate both Ambati Rayudu and Kedar Jadhav in the eleven along with Dinesh Karthik. Hence, the wicket-keeper batsman might have to sit out given that he had more match practice in recent times. If that is the case, MS Dhoni will bat at five.

Also, India will want to try out both Vijay Shankar and Ravindra Jadeja in the same eleven to decide who’ll be the better fit. Depending on that DK could later be slotted back into the eleven. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami and Yuzvendra Chahal will be the three bowlers while Kuldeep will have to sit out.

Predicted XI: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli (c), Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Vijay Shankar, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Yuzvendra Chahal.

Focus will be on

Ross Taylor (New Zealand)

Ross Taylor, over the last few months, has been an unstoppable force in the New Zealand line-up. Post his eye surgery, he worked wonders for the team and is impeccably consistent. 137, 90, 54, 86*, 80, 181* are his scores in the last six innings. The Kiwis will hope for him to carry on with the rich vein of form against a mighty side like India.

Shikhar Dhawan (India)

0(1), 32(28) and 23(46) were the three scores Shikhar Dhawan put up in the series against Australia. The left-hander hasn’t found it easy to score runs as fluently after missing out on the action for a while. With a young Shubman Gill waiting in the ranks, Shikhar will have to put his best foot forward against the Blackcaps. The 33-year-old should look to spend some time in the middle and rotate the strike more often to gain his confidence back.

Head to Head

Matches – 101 | New Zealand won – 44 | India won – 51 | NR – 5 | Tied – 1

Stat Attack

4,990 – The runs scored by Shikhar Dhawan in his ODI career so far. The left-hander needs 10 more runs to reach the 5,000 runs landmark.

1 – The number of wickets that Mohammed Shami needs to pick to get to 100 ODI wickets.

Broadcast Details

TV – Star Sports 1, Star Sports 1 HD

Live Streaming – Hotstar

Match Timings – 07:30 IST; 15:00 local

Get the latest Cricket News and updates from New Zealand vs India series, Match PredictionsFantasy Cricket Tips and lots more on CricTracker.com.

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