Just as it was in the T20Is, the ODIs have also effectively become a two-match series because of rain, except that New Zealand lead 1-0
now and India can at best square it. But rain is threatening to spoil the game, in Christchurch, too, even though there is a chance of a shortened game being squeezed out around the showers.
Whether a full 50-50 game or a reduced one – like they attempted in the Hamilton ODI
– the pressure will be on India. Not just because they are trailing, but also because they are are missing first-choice players and looked short of ideas while defending 306 in the series opener. India had only five bowling options then, and replaced Sanju Samson
with Deepak Hooda
to have the cushion of a sixth bowler in the following game, where rain allowed only 12.5 overs of play.
New Zealand also have an enviable 10-1 win-loss record at Hagley Oval in ODIs, where teams chasing have won the last three ODIs. So, if India lose the toss for the third time in a row, they will have to score big. The question is if they have that firepower – and the mindset – in the current line-up.
Like India, New Zealand are also building up to the 2023 ODI World Cup starting with this series. They are ranked No. 1, there’s no qualification worry for them on the Super League table, and they haven’t lost an ODI series at home since early 2019, when India had won 4-1.
After the washout in Hamilton, New Zealand would be eager to give some more game time to Finn Allen
and Michael Bracewell
, who have played most of their ODI cricket against lower-ranked sides in the past. There is a fair bit of inexperience in their batting, too, with the exception of Kane Williamson
and Tom Latham
, and Devon Conway
; so Allen and Glenn Phillips
could use the opportunity to get some runs and make a mark ahead of the ODIs in Pakistan in January 2023.
New Zealand WLLLW (last five completed matches, most recent first)
Sanju Samson trends on social media as soon as he is left out of the XI, or each time he hits a crisp boundary, like he did a few times in the opening game during his 36 off 38. But he was then dropped for Deepak Hooda as India desperately needed a sixth bowler. Whoever plays on Wednesday will be under the spotlight; Samson to score runs to cement his spot in the middle order and Hooda to not only score but also contain the runs with the ball, and pick up a wicket or two with his part-time offspin.
will be back where he returned 2 for 14 from four overs last month, in a T20I against Pakistan
. He came in for Adam Milne in the second ODI, and if he gets another go in the last game, his lower-order batting could be handy for New Zealand, but his offspin will be tested by India’s batters on a pitch that assists strokeplay and fast bowlers.
There was hardly any game time in Hamilton, and New Zealand may not feel the need to change their XI unless they want to go back to playing four quicks, like they did in the Auckland ODI.
New Zealand (probable): 1 Finn Allen, 2 Devon Conway, 3 Kane Williamson (capt), 4 Daryl Mitchell, 5 Tom Latham (wk), 6 Glenn Phillips, 7 Mitchell Santner, 8 Michael Bracewell/Adam Milne, 9 Matt Henry, 10 Tim Southee, 11 Lockie Ferguson
Will India bring back Samson as a pure batting option, but Hooda is likely to play because of his bowling, which could be handy especially against left-hand batters Conway, Latham and Mitchell Santner
. And will Kuldeep Yadav
finally get a game? He was in both the T20I and ODI squads but hasn’t played on the tour yet, and is not even in the squad for the ODIs in Bangladesh next month.
India (probable): 1 Shikhar Dhawan (capt), 2 Shubman Gill, 3 Shreyas Iyer, 4 Suryakumar Yadav, 5 Rishabh Pant (wk), 6 Sanju Samson/Deepak Hooda, 7 Washington Sundar, 8 Deepak Chahar, 9 Umran Malik, 10 Arshdeep Singh, 11 Yuzvendra Chahal/Kuldeep Yadav
New Zealand haven’t lost an ODI series at home since January 2019 and can’t lose this one either. Their next ODI series at home will be at the end of March against Sri Lanka.
Showers have been forecast for Wednesday and if the game is shortened, the toss will become crucial, and bowling first will be the choice again. The tickets are sold out for only the second day-night men’s ODI at Hagley Oval, where the hard pitch is expected to help the quick bowlers and batters.
“As a side, we’ve played some pretty good one-day cricket for a long time. The format suits us. There’s plenty of games to come leading into that World Cup and we’ll find out more as a side and about the team.”
Senior bowler Tim Southee is confident about the team’s preparations for the ODI World Cup next year
“I benefit bowling with him because the batters can get deceived as the pace drops from 155kph to 135kph. We’re enjoying bowling with each other and off the field as well.”
Arshdeep Singh on his bowling experience with fellow debutant Umran Malik in the first ODI