The Big Picture
It was expected to be a close series. A series between No.2 and No.3 ranked side in the world. A series against a side that had the best W/L ratio at home in recent times and against a team who had blown away Sri Lanka, 3-0 recently.
But, three matches into it, and we already have a winner while the other side is grappling with the chinks exposed in their armor. India, their middle-order issues notwithstanding, is playing white-ball cricket at a different level, and much of the credit should go to their bowling unit.
Not since 2010 and 2012 have the Kiwis failed to bat out their 50 overs and win a single game on three occasions in a row, is a testimony to India's relentlessness. The template has been simple: attack with pace and seam at the start before unleashing the wrist-spinners in the middle.
But, as they say, defeat shows you the real mirror, and it actually good to get your chinks exposed rather than live in a fools' paradise.
The Black Caps were flying high, racking up 300 plus totals against Sri Lanka, but facing a far superior attack has left their batting order grapple with issues. The most important of them all is their opening combination. Colin Munro has not set the stage on fire, as he does in the T20 format, which begs the question as to whether the hosts will persist with the swashbuckling left-hander or will go for Will Young to level the playing field.
The opening combination needs to score runs, for it's putting a lot of pressure on their middle-order against the wrist-spinners, so does their new-ball pair of Trent Boult and Lockie Ferguson, who unlike the Indian pacers have not been able to extract much from the surface- the key differentiator between the two sides.
India, on the other hand, will now be led by Rohit Sharma after Virat Kohli was rested for the last two ODIs. But, apart from the anticipation of the win, there are loud calls from fans and pundits alike to unearth another Indian prodigy- Shubman Gill? Will they?
Where- Seddon Park, Hamilton
Match Timing- Thursday, January 31st, 2019, 07:30 AM IST
New Zealand- LLLWW
- The 4th match will be Rohit Sharma's 200th ODI for India.
- It will also be his first ODI as captain outside Asia.
- The Kiwis have won six of their last seven ODI at Seddon Park.
- Trent Boult needs 3 wickets to become the second Kiwi bowler to complete 100 ODI wickets in New Zealand.
- The last time New Zealand lost four ODIs in a row was against Windies in 2012.
What to expect?
The Seddon Park is usually a high scoring ground which also has something in it to keep the spinners interested. The sides' here like to chase evidenced by the fact that the last four ODIs have ended with team's chasing down the target.
Team News & Playing 11
New Zealand has dropped in Jimmy Neesham and Todd Astle for the last two matches while the pressure will be on the misfiring Munro to keep his place in the side.
Probable 11- Colin Munro, Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, Jimmy Neesham, Todd Astle, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult
India- Virat Kohli praised Shubman Gill in the press conference after the last ODI. So, with MS Dhoni expected to return, will we see Gill making his International debut for India?
Probable 11- Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Shubman Gill/Dinesh Karthik, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammad Shami