After a T20 series where New Zealand remarkably went winless, the Kiwis and India now embark on a three match ODI series which begins in Hamilton on Wednesday. These two last met in the World Cup semi-final, which New Zealand won, which should give them some confidence.
With this being a three match series, both teams will go into this encounter knowing that whoever wins it will go one up with two to play, and while this series isn’t huge in the grand scheme of things, winning it from there will be tough.
The Black Caps are a decent unit in this format of the game. They showed that at the World Cup but they don’t appear to be taking this series as seriously as some of the other cricket they are playing at the minute. Their coach is being rested for these games which kind of sends out a signal of where this series is in their list of priorities. With no World Cup for another three years it is probably the right thing to do as well.
New Zealand’s success in the format in recent times has been their ability to stay in matches and not make mistakes. They are not always flashy but they keep coming with the ball and have plenty of good accumulators with the bat. They might not put up the 300+ scores other sides so very often but the fact is that they don’t need to do that with the quality they have with the ball when they are on song.
After winning all five T20 matches in the lead up to this series, India should be feeling pretty good about themselves right now. This is probably their stronger of the two one day formats as well, which is another reason why they will be full of confidence going into this series. Everyone knows about their batting but in the last year or two their bowling has really come to the fore, regardless of the conditions they are playing in.
That isn’t to say there aren’t concerns about this Indian side. They are probably still a little too reliant on their top four and that is very much an issue, while they have tried hard to find an all-rounder that works for them but haven’t really been able to nail down that position. There are no signs that India are going to begin planning for the future in this series which suggests they want to maintain the roll they are on.
New Zealand will be without their captain Kane Williamson for the first two ODIs at least. He joins some big players on the injured list that include Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult and Matt Henry, all of whom played in that World Cup semi-final. Mark Chapman is set for a recall, as is Kyle Jamieson could get his ODI debut too.
India will be without Rohit Sharma, who has been ruled out for the remainder of the tour so Mayank Agarwal and Prithvi Shaw are expected to get these games to acclimatise themselves to conditions ahead of the Tests.
Seddon Park isn’t the biggest ground in the world but I still think that the 14.5 sixes line is a little on the high side here. Traditionally these are not big hitting sides and the bowling attacks are good enough to step a plethora of sixes being hit. There is more than half a chance that New Zealand could struggle with the bat against this Indian attack which will limit the runs and in turn the sixes, whereas New Zealand are canny enough with the ball to keep things tidy as well. This doesn’t feel like a 300 vs 300 match with the players who are missing so a 14.5 sixes line feels a touch high. I’ll take the under.
Jimmy Neesham has said how he was disappointed to be left out of the recent T20 series and so he might feel he has a point to prove in this match so the 14/1 on him to top score for a New Zealand side who are missing their best batsman and who have a couple of other players who are out of form. Neesham showed in the World Cup that he is a player who can give it a tonk but if his side are in trouble he can knock it around to good effect. He made 70 in his last one day outing for his state side so he’s in good touch and at 14/1 looks overpriced to top score to me.
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