In a do or die encounter at Mount Maunganui, New Zealand will face high-flying India. The hosts before the start of the series were expected to dominate the majority of the series given, they possessed such a balanced line-up in modern day cricket, however, their dismal showing against India have raised quite a few eyebrows amongst the Black Caps faithful.
The Men in Blue on their part would like to win the third ODI and would then check their bench strength for the final last two matches. This match would also be the last one in this tour of Indian regular captain, Virat Kohli, who will be rested after a grueling Australia series.
New Zealand would look to bring in some more batsmen into their squad as they are performing poorly while countering Indian bowlers and would also want their bowlers to pick up wickets in the middle overs to restrict Indian batsmen to a below par score.
India, on the other hand, would opt for one change wherein they would give Hardik Pandya, a chance to play in the match after his suspension was lifted by the BCCI following his comments on women in the talk-show Koffee with Karan. Hardik would not only strengthen the Indian bowling line-up but would also play the role of a pinch-hitter in the batting department.
Presence of quality batsmen in the squad – Although the Kiwis batsmen haven’t fared well in the series, yet they have quality batsmen in their squad. The likes of Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Martin Guptill, Tom Latham are all quality batsmen and are the pillars of the Kiwi batting line-up. Although they haven’t performed in the series, yet they are just one knock away from gaining confidence and dominate the Indian bowlers in the series.
Openers aren’t providing a solid foundation – The Kiwi openers were one of the major reasons why the black Caps dominated most of the bilateral series last year, providing a solid foundation for the rest of the batsmen to dwell upon. This series, however, none of the Kiwi openers have scored runs losing their valuable wickets at a very early stage.
Inability to pick-up wickets – The Kiwi team possess some top-notch bowlers; however, they are unable to pick up wickets in the present series against India. In the first ODI, the Kiwis managed to pick up only two Indian wickets in 35 overs and in the second match they were only able to pick up four wickets. Thus, the Black Caps bowlers would want to rectify this incapacity and would want to come back strong in the third match.
Top-Order scoring bulk of runs – Since the 2015 Cricket World Cup, all of the Indian top-order batsmen, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and Shikhar Dhawan have been in red-hot form with one out of the top-3 playing throughout the Indian innings thus helping the Men in Blue to post competitive totals. The same was evident in the second ODI as well, and it is expected that the Indian top-order batsmen do the same in the third match as well.
Bowlers on-song – The Indian bowlers in this series have picked up entire twenty wickets of the Kiwi batsmen giving away only 391 series. They have not only picked up early wickets but have also picked up wickets in regular intervals and thus have restricted New Zealand to low scores. If India are to win the match, the bowlers have to do the same they have been doing in this series.
The fifth bowler’s quota – India have in this series used Vijay Shankar as the fifth bowler, however, he has been quite expensive and thus Kedar Jadhav has been used to share his quota of overs. India would like to play Hardik Pandya in the third ODI as he would be a better option than Shankar for his bowling skills.
Given the form that India is in, it is definitely expected that India will win the match comfortably. New Zealand would have to toil very hard, especially they have to negate the Indian bowlers carefully and watchfully and yet post a huge total if they are to have any chance of a win against high-flying Indians.
Also Read, Match Report|NZ vs Ind|2nd ODI