Another ODI series which the two sides involved could probably do without begins on Friday when New Zealand take on India in the first of the three games in Auckland as Eden Park returns to the international scene.
The narrative around these matches will be that it is a chance to begin preparations for the next World Cup which will be in India in just less than a year but when you see the squad India are selecting from you’ll know their attentions lie elsewhere.
Having dropped the T20 series prior to this one, New Zealand will be fairly eager to make up for that in the ODIs. While I doubt either side particularly want much to do with this series, as the home team there is probably a little more on it for New Zealand and if their fans are turning up to watch them then the least they should be up for doing is putting in a decent performance. They were beaten famously by the narrowest of margins in the last World Cup so next year they’ll want to put that right.
In the latter stages of the T20 World Cup and in the T20 matches with India last week, it was the New Zealand batting which let them down at the wrong time but in ODI cricket their batters are much better suited to the task at hand. That should benefit them in this series because we know their bowlers are usually up to the mark so if the format allows their batters to put up better scores then the Kiwis can at least build some confidence for the cricket ahead.
India have played a lot of cricket in recent times and they have a whole lot more scheduled so it is understandable that this series isn’t high up on their list of priorities. While it isn’t the most important series for them as an organisation, for the players involved it is as they showed in the time they could get on the field during the T20 series. These players want to be involved for their country when the big series come along and they have a chance to prove themselves here.
There is a lot of depth in Indian cricket at the minute so although some star names have their feet up for this series and there is a drop off in standard, it isn’t as much of one as some nations would suffer should they rest players. India didn’t really bat great in the T20s and they will need to do that to win this match because the ground is so small that you can’t just rely on the bowlers to get the job done here. It might be that with more time to settle in those batters go better too.
Sign up for a Boylesports account and bet £10 to get up to £20 in free bets! Perfect offer for this series! Click the image below for this great offer! New accounts only. 18+ T&Cs apply. Gamble Aware.
New Zealand will have Kane Williamson back after he missed the final T20 over the weekend. Tom Latham is also expected to return to the ODI side but we know there will be no Martin Guptill after he was released from his central contract.
India are going to go in with a similar team to the one which featured in the T20s with the main exception that Shikhar Dhawan will come in and captain this side and Hardik Pandya drops out. Rishabh Pant will move into the middle order.
I’m not going to go too mad in this opening match of the series as I want to gauge a few things first. I want to see the motivation and intent of the two teams and also how the line up before I really get stuck in but there is an obvious bet which can’t be ignored here and that comes in the form of the sixes on a ground which is a rugby ground and has the shortest straight boundaries you will see anywhere in the game at this level.
There will be a tendency for the bowlers to go short and wide so that the batters hit to the square sides of the wicket but this isn’t a Perth like ground where the square boundaries are huge. They are bigger but they can still be cleared and with the weather looking good throughout the day and both teams going in without some first-choice bowlers I do expect the batters to shine. A dozen sixes here really isn’t asking too much so I’m happy to be on the over here.
Back Over 11.5 sixes for a 3/10 stake at 2.00 with Boylesports
Back them here: