Dominating team India is all set to take on inconsistent but spirited New Zealand in a three-match ODI series starting in Mumbai on Sunday.
The Indians are on a high after comprehensively thrashing world champions Australia earlier this month. And the Black Caps will have to come up with really a special effort to make a mark against the rampaging hosts.
Considering that the 4-1 result over Australia was achieved without skipper Virat Kohli being in top form and despite the absence of prolific opener Shikhar Dhawan, it was a huge achievement.
As this one-day match is going to be Indian skipper Virat Kohli's 200th ODI, so expectations are high from him to make it a big one.
India’s spin bowling looks challenging with Chinaman Kuldeep Singh and orthodox leggie Yuzvendra Chahal, along with the left-arm orthodox Axar Patel as the back-up.
Among the pacers, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah are expected to trouble the Kiwis in the opening as well as at death overs.
However, New Zealanders will bank on their senior-most batsman and former captain Ross Taylor, who scored a cracking century at the Brabourne Stadium against the Indian Board President’s XI in their second practice game.
The form of Taylor, opener Martin Guptill and captain Kane Williamson are going to be crucial in the Kiwis trying to match the Indian batting might.
Tom Latham, who also warmed up with a ton in the second practice game along with Taylor, offers some big-hitting option in the middle. But overall, the visitors’ batting pales in comparison to the home team’s, especially in sub-continental conditions.
The experienced pace duo of Trent Boult and Tim Southee will have to take up the responsibility of getting quick wickets at the top. The spinners in left-arm orthodox Mitchell Santner and leggie Ish Sodhi may have a tough time against the Indian batsmen in the middle overs.
This will be the first series for India with the new ODI playing conditions in place.
India: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Shardul Thakur.
New Zealand: Kane Williamson (captain), Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Adam Milne, Colin Munro, Glenn Phillips, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, George Worker and Ish Sodhi.
(With PTI Inputs)