India vs New Zealand: Third ODI Preview

India and New Zealand will lock horns in the third one day international at the IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali on Sunday.

It took more than a month for New Zealand to register their first win on this tour, but it was well worth the wait as Kane Williamson and Tim Southee starred in a magnificent six-run victory.

Following Thursday’s thriller at the Feroz Shah Kotla, the sides will now head to the IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali where the hosts have experienced mixed fortunes since the first ODI was played there in 1993.

India vs New Zealand | Sunday 23 October | IS Bindra Stadium, Mohali | 10:30

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

India were near perfect in the run up to Thursday’s match in the Indian capital. They swept the Black Caps aside with consummate ease in the Tests before blowing them out of the water in the first ODI. Many fans and pundits – myself included – expected more of the same in the second one day international.

And when Umesh Yadav removed the woefully out of form Martin Guptill with only the second ball of the match, it looked as though the hosts were well on their way to another win over Mike Hesson’s beleaguered charges.

Even when Tom Latham and Kane Williamson appeared to be steering New Zealand to a score of 300+ with a magnificent 120-run first wicket partnership, the Indian bowlers stuck to their plan and restricted the visitors to a meagre 242-9 – this itself quite the achievement as New Zealand had been chugging along nicely at 120-1 in the 20th over.

So where did it all go wrong for the Indians? Their inability to remove the dangerous Williamson early on, Ajinkya Rahane’s controversial dismissal as well as Guptill’s bizarre over in which he bowled four wides and took two wickets later on in the piece to really put the hosts in the hole.

India are likely to be without Rohit Sharma for the remainder of the series after he did some pretty serious looking damage to his bicep. I’m not sure who will be promoted up the order to open the batting with Rahane although I’m leaning toward Kohli with Suresh Raina likely to come back into the squad.

India are still in a good position to win this series. They have the playing talent and are likely to bring Ravichandran Ashwin back into the side after the this ODI when squad revisions are expected to be made.

New Zealand
The victory at the Feroz Shah Kotla would have given the visitors confidence, Mike Hesson and Kane Williamson know that the victory against an off-colour India may well prove to a false dawn. There are still question marks surrounding Guptill’s performance with the bat while not one of the middle order batsmen have managed any score of substance.

Luke Ronchi – New Zealand’s top scorer in the Test series – has failed to pick up where he left off. Neither Ross Taylor nor Corey Anderson has managed to make an impact thus far. In fact, the trio’s combined score in the ODI series is a measly 52.

To put that into perspective, Tim Southee has – in one innings – outscored the supposed bedrock upon which the New Zealand batting line-up has been built. This is simply not good enough for the visitors and they’ll know full well that a marked improvement is required going forward or the Black Caps could be in for a 4-1 series loss.

While the batting hasn’t been great, the New Zealand coaching staff will be thrilled by the performances of the bowlers – and in particular the seamers. Trent Boult put in a world class display on Thursday, conceding just 25 runs in his 10 overs as well as picking up the valuable wickets of Rohit Sharma and Hardik Pandya which swing the game in New Zealand’s favour at crucial junctures.

Looking ahead to the third ODI, I think the bowlers are going to need to step up to the plate again. Kane Williamson and Tom Latham can only the batsmen so far before Taylor, Anderson and Ronchi need to pick up the slack. Whether or not they’ll do so heading into the Mohali match remains a mystery. Having said that, the trio have the quality and experience to turn things around going forward, as much was never in doubt. However, form can absolutely bury even the classiest batsmen – let’s hope they can dig themselves out of the rut.

Verdict: India to win 42/100
Even though New Zealand won the last ODI, I’m still not convinced. They still needed a wobbly display from India as well as a boatload of luck to scrape past the hosts by the narrowest of margins. Don’t bet on the Indians being so charitable again. 

Value Bet: Ross Taylor to top score for New Zealand at 5/1
Taylor is a quality player who has a proven track record in ODI cricket on the Sub-Continent. While he hasn’t performed particularly well in this series so far, I’m of the opinion that he will come good, and when he does I’d love to be able to cash in! You won’t go broke backing Taylor to top score at 5/1 – get on!

Written by Jason Dewey for @Hollywoodbets.

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