India and New Zealand will go head to head in the first of five ODIs, the first of which will be played in Dharamsala on Sunday.
Following a rather one-sided Test series in which India strolled to a 3-0 win, the two sides will refocus their attention on the ODI series which gets underway on Saturday.
Can the Indians continue their dominance over the New Zealanders or will Kane Williamson and his men shine on the flatter ODI decks? Let’s take a look:
India vs New Zealand | Sunday 16 October | Dharamsala, India | 09:45
To Win Match
India 46/100 | Tie 35/1 | New Zealand 18/10
The Indians will be high on confidence heading into the five-match ODI series following what was a routine drubbing of the Black Caps in the three Tests. MS Dhoni’s side will do well to guard against complacency. though, as this New Zealand side is a completely different prospect in the shorter formats of the game as their performances at the last World Cup indicate.
In terms of the squad, only Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Amit Mishra, Rohit Sharma and Umesh Yadav stay with the team from the group of players who did duty in the Tests. The evergreen MS Dhoni comes back into the side as captain and is likely to play a defining role in what could be one of his last home ODI series for India.
While Dhoni’s performances will be key, all eyes will be on Kohli and Rahane following their dominant displays in the third and final Test in Indore. Both men achieved their highest ever Test scores with the former grabbing 211 while the latter played beautifully for his 188. If these two are at their very best, there are very few ODI attacks on the planet that can keep them quiet.
Interestingly enough, Ravichandran Ashwin has not cracked the nod for the ODI squad. I can only assume that the Indian selectors are looking to keep him bubble wrapped for the five-match Test series coming up against England in November.
Anil Kumble’s men will be heavily reliant on Mishra and Suresh Raina as the two major spinning options while Umesh Yadav and Jasprit Bumrah will lead the attack from the front. Axar Patel is also likely to get a bit of game time during this series and might even start ahead of Mishra. Either way, the Indians have plenty of bowling options available to them in this series – one thinks that they’ll need them to perform if the Black Caps’ dangerous top order finds its feet.
Mike Hesson’s boys will be looking to emulate what South Africa achieved when they last toured India around this time last year. Having been comprehensively dismantled in the Test series, the Proteas bounced back brilliantly to claim the five-match ODI segment of their tour 3-2 with some breath-taking displays of batting.
One thing is for sure, the Black Caps have the batting personnel to do some serious damage at the top of the order. Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor will all relish the opportunity of batting on flatter ODI decks that will resemble the roads we’re accustomed to seeing in the IPL.
One thing is for sure, Williamson and co should be much more competitive in the shorter format of the game against the Indians. Having said that, I’ve taken the liberty of pulling some stats from New Zealand’s top three ODI batsmen on the Sub-Continent (India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh) and it doesn’t make for pretty reading – check the stats out below:
Williamson averages 26.75 after 18 matches at a meagre strike rate of 71.33. Guptill’s stats are almost exactly the same: average of 27.50 in 18 matches striking at 70.06. Ross Taylor’s numbers make for slightly better reading. His 29 innings in the Sub-Continent have seen him average 41.80 at a healthy strike rate of 80.93. These numbers don’t make for particularly good reading if you’re a New Zealand fan.
Nevertheless, there is still more than enough quality in the Black Caps’ ranks to make a real contest of the ODI segment of the tour. Ish Sodhi will be hoping to crack the nod in Dharamsala. The India-born legspinner gives Williamson a superb attacking option in the early and middle overs when the powerful Indian top order will be looking to attack. Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell and Matt Henry all provide excellent seam options and we can expect to see them chopped and changed as the series drags on.
All and all, I think that New Zealand are going to be heavily reliant on their bowlers in this series. If they can restrict the Indian top order players early on. Whether or not they’ll be able to do this remains to be seen. They need to give their own batsmen as much wiggle room as possible though or they face an uphill battle.
Verdict: India 46/100
While the New Zealanders will be a lot more competitive in the shorter format of the game. Whether or not their seamers will be able to keep Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane under the thumb is a completely different story. The smart money will be on India until we get a gauge of how well Mike Hesson's limited overs charges adapt to conditions in the Sub-Continent.
Value Bet: To follow once all markets priced up
Written by Jason Dewey for @Hollywoodbets.