India vs New Zealand: Fifth ODI Preview

India and New Zealand clash in the fifth and final one day international this Saturday in Visakhapatnam.

With the ODI segment of New Zealand’s tour to India finely poised at 2-2, both teams will be desperate to win in Visakhapatnam  come Saturday.

Can New Zealand pick up where they left off in Ranchi or will the Indians finally put in the sort of team-oriented performance that we’ve been waiting for since the first ODI? Let’s check it out:

India vs New Zealand | Saturday 29 October | ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium, Visakhapatnam | 10:30

To Win Match
India 46/100 | Tie 35/1 | New Zealand 18/10

The Indian selectors may well be kicking themselves as the decision to leave out the likes of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja for the ODI segment of this tour. I feel that a three pronged spin attack with Jadeja and Ashwin operating with either Amit Mishra or Kedar Jadhav would have been the way to go.

While I like Axar Patel as a bowler, he doesn’t really offer you much in the way of wicket taking threat. He’s able to build pressure from one end by consistently making scoring hard for opposition batsmen. I think that Ashwin or Jadeja could fulfil that role just as well while picking a few more sticks.

To put things into perspective, we’ll take a look at Patel’s record in this series: Four matches played, 40 overs bowled, 177 runs conceded at 4.53 with only two wickets to his name at an average of 88. While his numbers in terms of concession of runs are good, he simply doesn’t strike enough to warrant a side in place – especially with such quality bowlers waiting in the wings.

That said, neither Ashwin nor Jadeja have been included in the squad so Anil Kumble doesn’t really have too much else in the way of spinners to partner Jadhav with Mishra and who have both been in the wickets so far – with Mishra topping the list with 10 scalps while Jadhav has claimed six.
Enough about the bowlers though, India have a very real problem in their batting ranks. We mentioned in our last preview how a very strong Indian top and middle order struggle to chase down even the most mediocre scores when Kohli doesn’t anchor the innings. They’re far too reliant on the Test captain and it’s showed in their first two defeats.

Needless to say there are plenty of batsmen in the Indian top order who should be able to anchor the innings should Kohli fail. Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane and MS Dhoni are all world class players who’s been plying their trade at the very highest level for years now.

I worry for India going into this last ODI. Their confidence would have taken a knock following their last defeat. Kohli will be feeling the pressure under us calm veneer knowing full that if his side are asked to chase, he will have to perform.

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New Zealand
The Black Caps have just about hung on throughout this series and now have the chance to win the ODI segment of their tour of India. A win will go some in redeeming the New Zealand cricket following the Test side’s 3-0 whitewashing at the hands of their hosts.

Mike Hesson’s charges have actually improved as the ODI segment of the tour has worn on. Martin Guptill has started to come to the party while Ross Taylor has also managed to get starts in his two innings, solidifying what looked to be a very wobbly top / middle order.

While Guptill will be the one to watch, either Tom Latham or Kane Williamson will need to try and play the anchoring as has been the case throughout most of the series. Latham especially will want to just keep his wicket while Guptill goes berserk at the other end. If the opening pair can put on 100 – 150, the rest of the batting line up can and will capitalise to really put the pressure on the Indians.

The bowlers have been pretty solid throughout with Tim Southee and Trent Boult spearheading what has been a very good pace attack. I just feel like the spinners could add a bit more value. Neither Anton Devcich nor Ish Sodhi have really managed to nail down a starting place although I think Devcich offers a bit more control in situations where Sodhi will leak runs.

Verdict: New Zealand 18/10
I’m going to stick my neck out here and back New Zealand to claim the series win. The Black Caps have improved in every match they’ve played thus far while Indians have looked rudderless when Kohli hasn’t gone on to score big or anchor the innings. The visitors have all of the momentum and should be backed with a medium stake 18/10. 

Value Bet: Martin Guptill to Top Score for New Zealand at 4/1
Guptill – after a shaky start – has started to find his groove. He played a fluid innings of 72 last time out and looked to grow in stature as his innings went on. He’s due a properly good score and will be desperate to play a starring role in this ODI – back him here with a small stake. 

Written by Jason Dewey for @Hollywoodbets.

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