New Zealand vs India: 1st ODI, Preview – Injury-ridden teams aim to test their bench strength

New Zealand vs India: 1st ODI, Preview – Injury-ridden teams aim to test their bench strength

New Zealand's last One-day International was the heart pumping, nerve-wracking and ultimately heartbreaking 2019 World Cup final against England.

Tom Latham and Virat Kohli
Tom Latham and Virat Kohli (Photo Source: Twitter)

Context – It is this seven-letter word that drives people to watch any sporting event. In a year where the T20 World Cup and the ongoing ICC Test Championship are the main focus, the three-match ODI series between New Zealand and India remains devoid of any context but try telling that to both of these sides- who have different aims to fulfil through these three ‘contextless’ fixtures.

New Zealand’s last One-day International was the heart pumping, nerve-wracking and ultimately heartbreaking 2019 World Cup final against England. Since then a lot of water has flown under the bridge but what has certainly not changed is they continue to win hearts and squander winning positions; some even say they are the new ‘South Africa’.

That the injury to their premier players in Trent Boult, Lockie Ferguson, Matt Henry and now Kane Williamson, who has been ruled out of the first two ODIs haven’t helped their cause but that shouldn’t take away anything from the fact their bench-strength and ability to close out fixtures have been severely tested in the past few months. And, the ODI series provides them with another opportunity to get their fledgling fortunes back on track.

The Kiwis should take heart from the fact that the last time they locked horns with India in an ODI in Hamilton, they proceeded to knock the famed Indian batting line-up for 92. That was also their only win of the five-match series last year.

Just like the Kiwis, the Men in Blue have injury issues of their own to contend with. After Shikhar Dhawan, they have now lost both of their first-choice openers with Rohit Sharma ruled out due to calf injury. But, sometimes adversity for some comes wearing clothes of opportunity for the other, and as India has shown time and again, their bench-strength is well and truly ready to take the big leap to International cricket. Time to show that again!

Team Combination

New Zealand

As if the injury blows to their premier fast bowlers in Trent Boult, Matt Henry and Lockie Ferguson were not enough, the Kiwis have been dealt with another blow with skipper Kane Williamson ruled out of the first two ODIs due to shoulder injury. Tom Latham will lead the side in his absence while Mark Chapman, who scored a hundred against India A in the recently concluded List-A series, has been called up as a replacement.

Henry Nicholls and Martin Guptill will open the batting while the middle-order will be led by Ross Taylor, Mark Chapman, Tom Latham. James Neesham, who had a good outing in the List-A series against India A, will lead the all-rounder’s department along with Colin de Grandhomme and Mitchell Santner.

Kyle Jamieson is in line for his ODI debut after a fruitful List-A series against India A while it could be a toss-up between Tim Southee and Hamish Bennett for the second seamers slot.

Probable XI: Martin Guptill, Henry Nicholls, Mark Chapman, Ross Taylor, Tom Latham (C & WK), James Neesham, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee/Hamish Bennett, Ish Sodhi, Kyle Jamieson.

Bench: Kane Williamson, Tom Blundell, Scott Kuggeleijn

India

Virat Kohli made it clear in the press conference that they want to continue with the ‘Rajkot’ template to allow KL Rahul to get used to the role at the No.5 slot. That means we will have two debutants in Mayank Agarwal and Prithvi Shaw who will open the batting in Hamilton.

With KL batting at No.5 and Ravindra Jadeja at No.7, it will be interesting to see if India goes with the extra-spin option of Kedar Jadhav or do they continue with Manish Pandey, as they did against Australia?

With Kuldeep’s shoulder not yet fit, Yuzvendra Chahal will take up the lone specialist spinner role while Navdeep Saini might just pip Shardul Thakur as the third seamer.

Probable XI: Prithvi Shaw, Mayank Agarwal, Virat Kohli (C), Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (WK), Manish Pandey/Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur/Navdeep Saini, Mohammed Shami, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah.

Bench: Rishabh Pant, Shivam Dube, Kedar Jadhav, Navdeep Saini/Shardul Thakur and Kuldeep Yadav.

The focus will be on

Ross Taylor (NZ)- Ross Taylor may have struggled to close out games in T20Is but he is a different beast altogether when it comes to One-day cricket. Since 2015, Taylor has racked 3796 runs in 82 innings at an average of 59.31 with nine centuries and 23 fifties including a career-best of 181 against England in 2018. And, he loves batting in Hamilton. Since the start of 2015, no one has scored more runs than Taylor- 415 runs at 59.28- at Seddon Park.

Mayank Agarwal (IND)– He may be making his One-day International debut, but Mayank Agarwal has played enough List A cricket to understand exactly what his team needs from him in this series. In 84 List-A games that Mayank has played for Karnataka, he has plundered 3999 runs at an average of 49.37 and a strike-rate of 100.93 with 15 half-centuries and 13 hundred. Agarwal knows how to cash-in on the opportunity when it presents itself; he showed that in Test cricket, can he emulate it in white-ball cricket? We’ll wait and see.

Stat Attack

3-7: India’s W/L record in ten ODIs played at Seddon Park in Hamilton.

1-4- India’s record in Hamilton since January 2000. Since their 84-run win at Seddon Park in 2009, the Men in Blue have lost three back-to-back rubbers in 2014 (by 15 runs & 7 wickets and 2019 (by eight wickets).

20-7- New Zealand’s W/L record in 29 ODIs played at Seddon Park in Hamilton.

4-1- India’s margin of victory, the last time they played an ODI series in New Zealand. Interestingly, the only ODI they lost was in Hamilton when they were bundled out for 92.

9- Number of ODIs India has won against New Zealand in their past 14 meetings with the BlackCaps.

2-2– India has won as many series as they have lost in New Zealand this century. While they lost 2-5 and 0-4 in 2002 and 2014 respectively, they proceeded to hammed the Kiwis 3-1 and 4-1 in 2009 and 2019.

0– Number of International matches Virat Kohli has lost as captain on New Zealand. India has played 7 white-ball fixtures [3 ODIs + 4 T20Is] under Virat, and have won each of them.

Broadcast details:

TV – Star Sports 1, Star Sports 1 HD

Live Streaming – Hotstar

Match Timings – 07:30 AM IST; 3:00 PM local