Ind vs NZ: India seems strong, Kiwis needs to improve bat, ball

Tauranga, Jan 25 (GCSports) After thrashing the White Ferns by eight wickets in the first One Day International (ODI) at Napier’s McLean Park on Wednesday, Virat Kohli-led Indian team will try to keep their winning juggernaut moving when they take on the hosts in second ODI of the five match-series here at Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui on Saturday.

On the other hand, Kane Williamson-led New Zealand side will be looking to improve their performance with both bat and ball, as the hosts were bundled out for a paltry 157 runs in the first ODI and could claim only two Indian wickets in the chase.

In the Indian side, might not be thinking of much changes in bowling department seeing bowler’s present form. Pacer Mohammed Shami, who has become the fastest Indian to take 100 wickets in ODI, is in good form. Kohli recently hailed his fitness. The spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal (2) and Kuldeep Yadav (4) shared six wickets in Napier, something that might haunt the Kiwis in the second encounter.

In batting, opener Shikhar Dhawan’s form was prime concern ahead of the first ODI, but with his unbeaten fifty (75*) runs knock he has silent his critics. Dhawan had not even scored a single fifty in his last nine innings.

However, the number four position still remains a concern. The main question is whether skipper MS Dhoni or Ambati Raidu will bat in this critically important position. Raidu, who batted at fourth position at Napier, has previously failed in the Australian tour. India is looking to get the combination right, ahead of the biggest cricket carnival slated to be held in England in May this year.

On Thursday, the Indian all-rounder Hardik Pandya and opener KL Rahul’s suspension was lifted by the Committee of Administration (COA). Now, Pandya also gives an option for the slot.

They have most of their batting slots finalised ahead of the ICC World Cup 2019 and boast of a menacing bowling attack, which is firing despite Jasprit Bumrah rested for the tour.

The 30-year-old Kohli will be looking to make his mark as the the Board of Control for Cricket (BCCI) has decided to give him rest for the final two ODIs and the T20I series against New Zealand. Rohit Sharma will lead the team in his absence.

The BCCI said in a statement on Wednesday that considering his workload in the last few months, the team management and Senior selection committee have decided to give him adequate rest ahead of the home series against Australia.

The Kiwis skipper, was their only bright spot with the bat as he top-scored with an 81-ball 64. The 28-year-old is likely to be central to their batting effort once again. Ross Taylor will still go into the second ODI as New Zealand’s most important batsman.

None of their bowlers made a real impact and struggled to silence India’s batting. To make spin attack strong, Williamson may rope in Ish Sodhi.

The experienced duo of Trent Boult and Tim Southee will be looking to make come back.

This will be the first ODI appearance for the visitors in Mount Maunganui.

So far, the hosts have played six matches at this venue and has won three out of those ODIs.

According to the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) official website, the forecast is for partly cloudy skies in Mount Maunganui at the time of the toss, which might help pacers swing the new ball. New Zealand last played an ODI on this wicket in the first week of January, when they slammed 319. It was a run-fest, with both teams making a total of 617 runs.

The match will be started from 3.00pm local time.

Squads for both the teams

New Zealand: Kane Williamson (c), Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Colin Munro, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor

India: Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Dinesh Karthik, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni, Vijay Shankar, Shubman Gill, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Khaleel Ahmed, Mohammed Shami, Hardik Pandya

Via UNI-India

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