India vs New Zealand: First ODI Preview

Batsman faces bowler in front of packed cordon

We preview the first ODI between India and New Zealand set to be played at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Sunday 22 October. 

Almost a year to the day since they last squared off in a bilateral ODI series, the sub-continental big guns and Australasian dark horses will be at it again in Mumbai and beyond.

That was a great contest in 2016, with neither side winning two consecutive matches in a three-two victory for the hosts, who are a very different looking unit this time around.

India v New Zealand | Sunday, 22 October | Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai | 10:00

To Win Match
India 36/100 | Tie 35/1 | New Zealand 9/4

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India
Brimming with confidence on the back of an ODI series whitewash over Sri Lanka and convincing four-one scoreline against Australia, India are lapping up conditions at home - and don't look like being thwarted anytime soon. In the Black Caps, though, they'll face underdog opposition known to derail even the biggest guns.

Shardul Thakur and Dinesh Karthik have been recalled, while Shikhar Dhawan is also back after missing the Australian series to be with his ill wife. Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja have again been deemed surplus to limited-overs requirements, leaving Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav and Axar Patel to shoulder the spin responsibilities.

Rotation amid a busy schedule is evidently the name of India's game at the moment, but one feels for KL Rahul, who was impressive for the Indian Board President's XI against the tourists earlier this week. Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar will lead the seam attack, with Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami overlooked.

Sunday's venue is hardly an ODI fortress for India. They've won just 10 of their 17 matches at the Wankhede Stadium. They haven't played the intermediate form of the international game here since 2015, when centuries from Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers saw South Africa romp to victory. Kohli will definitely want to bat first if triumphant at the toss.

New Zealand
The New Zealanders made an unorthodox move by initially naming half their touring squad, later filling it with strong performers from the A side. That didn't bode well for continuity, nor has the late inclusion of Ish Sodhi for the injured Todd Astle. Captain Kane Williamson has reiterated that flexibility and adaptability is key - and this mentality is already being tested.

The Kiwis have left out Neil Broom and Jimmy Neesham, suggesting they are a bit light in the batting department. Martin Guptill and Williamson have plenty of experience in sub-continental conditions, though, while the onus is on Colin de Grandhomme to do well with the ball in the absence of Neesham.

This will be a big series for Tom Latham. A future leader and flush with game time on the back of a season with Durham, the wicketkeeper-batsman will have to adapt quickly to the low, slow turners in India - the complete antithesis of pitches encountered at Chester-le-Street and surrounds. His roles behind and in front of the stumps will be under the microscope.

New Zealand's last visit to the Wankhede Stadium was in 2011, when they effectively 'hosted' Sri Lanka for an important group A fixture in the World Cup. Guptill and Williamson are survivors of that heavy defeat, which also required a lot from Tim Southee. Southee, in tandem with Trent Boult, will be key again.

Verdict: India 36/100
Three positions superior in the International Cricket Council's ODI rankings and a veritable gulf stronger in home conditions, India will likely take an early, important series lead.

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