India vs New Zealand: Fourth ODI Preview

India will look to claim the one day international segment of the series when they play New Zealand in Ranchi.

Aside from one hiccough in the second ODI in New Delhi, India have been completely and utterly dominant over New Zealand in both the Tests and the one day internationals.

The fourth is set to take place at the JSCA International Stadium Complex in Ranchi where the Indian national side is undefeated in three matches. Can New Zealand put a halt to the trend or will MS Dhoni and his boys secure the series? Let’s check it out:

India vs New Zealand | Wednesday 25 October | JSCA International Stadium Complex | 09:30

To Win Match
India 42/100 | Tie 35/1 | New Zealand 39/20

The Indians continue to keep the New Zealanders under their thumbs without needing to call upon the likes of Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja or Mohammed Shami. The decision will come as a slap in the face for the New Zealanders, as India clearly have an eye on their home series against England later in the year.

While their best spinners may be getting a bit of rest before England touch down on the Sub-Continent, their absence gives the likes of Axar Patel and Amit Mishra some much-needed time out in the middle. The latter has been in magnificent form and currently tops the wicket-taking charts with eight scalps to his name.

Patel has been far less prolific but has succeeded in keeping scoring rates down, building pressure at one end while Mishra and the Indian seamers do the damage at the other. Umesh Yadav and Jasprit Bumrah have continued to impress while Hardik Pandya has come on in leaps and bounds since his international (T20) debut against Australia in March.

This bodes well for India who are looking to build heading into next year’s Champions Trophy and as well as the next World Cup to be hosted by England and Wales in 2019. The bowling attack appears to be standing in good stead and I expect them to continue their dominance against the New Zealanders going forward.

Where things get a bit more interesting for the Indians is their one day international batting line-up. They look absolutely unstoppable with Virat Kohli anchoring the innings. However, when the Indian magician fails, what appears to be one of the best batting line-ups on the planet battles do deal with even the tiniest hint of scoreboard pressure – just look at what happened in the second ODI.

Set a meagre total of 243 at the Feroz Shah Kotla, India fell short, losing the game by six runs after being dismissed for a paltry 236. In the first and third ODIs, Kohli played a starring role as the hosts cruise to victory. It now becomes apparent as to why the selectors don’t afford Kohli the same time off they dish out to Ashwin and Jadeja: the Indian ODI squad simply doesn’t click without Virat running the show.

It’s therefore safe to say that if Kohli clicks again in Ranchi, India are likely going to coast to victory. India are undefeated at the JSCA International Stadium Complex having won both games where results were achieved. There’s no guessing who anchored those two innings either: Virat himself.

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New Zealand
Judging by what was mentioned above, New Zealand need to find a way to remove Kohli early on or risk losing the ODI segment of the series with a game left to play. In a series where the Black Caps’ bowlers have struggled at times, getting rid of the planet’s finest limited overs batsmen before he settles seems an almost insurmountable task.

With Kohli, you can bowl to a plan as New Zealand did at Eden Gardens in the first Test. Plenty of short stuff with the field set to capitalize on any mistakes. It’s all rather different in limited overs cricket with the fielding restrictions.

New Zealand desperately need someone like Trent Boult or Tim Southee to strike early on with an absolute peach of a delivery. Preferably something just outside off stump that gets Kohli driving or fending at the ball off the back foot.

While a lot of New Zealand’s focus will fall at how to dismiss Kohli, it’s important that the players don’t caught up in the hype and forget about their own roles within the squad. Either one of Kane Williamson or Tom Latham need to take up the anchoring role while Martin Guptill, Ross Taylor, Luke Ronchi and Corey Anderson are all living on borrowed time.

In fairness, Guptill and Taylor looked better in the third ODI getting scores of 27 and 44 respectively; however, more will be expected as the sides head to Ranchi. Ronchi’s place should be safe off the back of his magnificent showing in the Tests. That said, BJ Watling may yet crack the nod ahead of Ronchi should Mike Hesson want to freshen things up.

Anderson will be sweating though, and for good reason. The burley left-hander has seen his stock fall considerably over the last few months. His scores in India haven’t helped him: just 27 runs in three innings on batsmen-friendly decks is not good enough. The Canterbury-native can’t even argue his case as an all-rounder anymore either as he hasn’t bowled a ball in the series.

I’m not sure I’d give him another go on this tour. You could even bring in BJ Watling as a specialist batsman and leave Ronchi behind the stumps.

I wouldn’t tinker too much with the bowling side of things. Maybe you could bring in Ish Sodhi as an attacking spin option for the largely toothless Mitchell Santner. Sure the Indian-born leg-spinner will concede a few more runs, however, the wicket-taking threat he provides could prove the difference in what will be an absolute must-win for New Zealand.

Verdict: India 42/100
As with all of my previous verdicts in this series I’m going to back India again. They’re just so good in front of their own fans and with New Zealand battling for form, this is definitely a result you should be adding to your mid-week multiples. 

Value Bet: Virat Kohli to top Score for India at 5/2
I’ve been avoiding tipping this Kohli to top score in search of value elsewhere. His record at the JSCA International Stadium is excellent though, top scoring in both of the ODIs that have been completed at the venue. Back him to make it three-in-a-row on Wednesday.

Written by Jason Dewey for @Hollywoodbets.

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