The Big Picture
After pulling off a comprehensive win by eight wickets in the first ODI, the Men in Blue will look to do an encore when they take on the Kiwis in the second ODI at the Bay Oval on Saturday.
It was a near perfect match for Virat Kohli's men at Napier. They took an aggressive route of playing the spin-twins in Kuldeep and Chahal which paid rich dividends in the latter half of the host's innings.
Kuldeep-Chahal has been the bedrock of the ODI team's success ever since they made their debut. Their ability to pick wickets in the middle-overs came to the fore yet again at Napier. While Mohammad Shami [3-19], who made another strong case of making it to the World Cup squad, set the tone by claiming both Guptill and Munro, it was Chahal and Kuldeep who landed telling blows in the middle-overs.
While Chahal lured the likes of Taylor and Latham by tossing it up below their eye-line, Kuldeep induced a false shot from Williamson, who looked to up the ante, before polishing off the tail with disdain. India ticked almost all the boxes in the first game including Shikhar Dhawan's return to form, who spearheaded the run-chase with an unbeaten 75.
The left-hander, who became the third fastest [Indian] and fifth overall to surpass 5,000 ODI runs, had come into the first match without a half-century to his name in his last nine games.
New Zealand was on the receiving end of India's clinical performance in the last game. After scoring heaps of runs against Sri Lanka, the batting- barring Kane Williamson, came up short against the incisive pace of Shami and the guile of the wrist spinners.
Martin Guptill, who averages 28 against India, will be the key to New Zealand's fortune. If Guptill and Munro can get their side off to a good start, it will put pressure on India's wrist spinners against the likes of Williamson, Taylor, and Latham during the middle-overs, and with Bumrah not being there to bowl at the death, it can set the hosts towards a 300 plus target, giving them a real chance to put pressure on India's batting, and script a fightback in the series.
Venue- Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui
Match Timings- Saturday, January 26, 2019, 07:30 AM IST
Pitch & Weather Conditions
371, 326, 319 and 298 were the totals in the previous series with the Black Caps overcoming special efforts from Kusal and Thisara Perera. The wicket is expected to be flat yet again but it is how the hosts handle the wrist-spin of Chahal and Kuldeep, that will define the narrative of the game.
Pleasant conditions, with temperatures hovering around 25 degrees is expected to greet the sides.
- No bowler has taken more wickets than Kuldeep Yadav's 73, since the Chinaman debuted for India in June 2017. Next on the list is his partner, Yuzvendra Chahal , underlining their importance for India.
- MS Dhoni needs 197 runs to become the leading run-scorer for India in New Zealand [ODIs].
Team News & Playing 11
New Zealand might ponder to bring Colin de Grandhomme in place of Doug Bracewell to bolster their batting while Ish Sodhi can also make a comeback.
Playing 11- Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Kane Williamson [c], Ross Taylor, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Doug Bracewell/Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner/Ish Sodhi, Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Lockie Ferguson
India might stick to the same playing 11 that won comprehensively in Napier.
Playing 11- Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli [c], Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Vijay Shankar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammad Shami