A 3-0 sweep will be on New Zealand’s minds while India will look to salvage some pride in the third and final One-Day International at Bay Oval in Tauranga on Tuesday.
India began the tour with a 5-0 sweep in the T20I series, and New Zealand have hit back winning the first two ODIs. A win at the Bay Oval will taste sweet, especially after the T20I debacle.
It was New Zealand’s batsmen who set up victory in the first match, helping them chase 348 by four wickets. In the next game, their bowlers helped defend a moderate total of 273/8. New Zealand have now won their last three ODIs against India, including the semifinal of the World Cup last year.
New Zealand have issues with illnesses in their squad, especially the bowling unit. Trent Boult, Matt Henry and Lockie Ferguson do not feature in the series, and Kane Williamson did not play the first two matches with injury. His participation in the third match will depend on a fitness test on the eve of the game.
Apart from these players, New Zealand were also without Mitchell Santner and Scott Kuggeleijn for the second game as both were down with illness. Tim Southee was not 100% well too, but played the game in Auckland and returned 2/41 in 10 overs. They were in such a bad state that assistant coach Luke Ronchi had to chip in as substitute fielder. New Zealand have called up Ish Sodhi and Blair Tickner to their squad ahead of the final match.
New Zealand will be pleased with the form of Ross Taylor, who has scores of 109* and 73* in the two games. Martin Guptill and stand-in captain Tom Latham have a half-century each. Seamer Kyle Jamieson chipped in with bat and ball on debut in Auckland, which will please New Zealand too.
Following the loss in Auckland, India captain Virat Kohli said ODIs are not as relevant as Tests or T20Is this year. With no ICC tournament in the format till 2023, India will be keen on experimenting with their squad. Kohli hinted at changes for the final game, which means those in the bench might be given a go.
Those players could be at least one of Rishabh Pant or Manish Pandey, with Kedar Jadhav likely to make way. Jadhav made 9 off 27 in Auckland and voices against his place in the side are growing louder.
Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal, who have got rare opportunities at the top of the order, did not click in the first two matches and will be eager to make a mark before the regulars return to their spots. Kohli has scores of 51 and 15, and will be itching for a big one. Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul have been in fine form, while Ravindra Jadeja and even Navdeep Saini made useful runs in the lower order last game.
India will also want Jasprit Bumrah to be back to his best. He went for 64 in his 10 overs last match, and is yet to take a wicket this series. That’s a rarity for a bowler of his stature. Unless Jadhav or Shivam Dube play, India will have only five bowlers in their line up, which means they have to step up.
The weather is set to be clear, and the pitch should be another good one for batting.
India Squad: Prithvi Shaw, Mayank Agarwal, Virat Kohli(c), Shreyas Iyer, KL kesh Rahul(w), Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Navdeep Saini, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Manish Pandey, Mohammed Shami, Kuldeep Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Shivam Dube
New Zealand Squad: Martin Guptill, Henry Nicholls, Kane Williamson(c), Ross Taylor, Tom Blundell, Tom Latham(w), James Neesham, Colin de Grandhomme, Mark Chapman, Tim Southee, Kyle Jamieson, Hamish Bennett, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Blair Tickner, Scott Kuggeleijn