The No.2 ranked ODI side India will lock the horns with the No.3 ranked ODI team New Zealand in the 5-match series starting on Wednesday at the McLean Park in Napier.
Virat Kohli and Ross Taylor will vie to prove they are the world’s best One-Day International (ODI) batsman as India and New Zealand clash in the first of five ODIs in Napier Wednesday.
For both sides, the series is an opportunity to fine-tune planning ahead of the World Cup.
But for Kohli and Taylor — currently ranked first and third in the world respectively — it’s a more personal battle, with both in electric form and looking to gain a psychological edge.
The McLean Park wicket promises to be a belter, with New Zealand’s Tom Latham showing just how ripe the pitch is by smashing 110 off just 60 deliveries, including 10 fours and six sixes, in a domestic T20 match last week.
The last time New Zealand played India at McLean Park was four years ago when Kohli scored 123, but his 111-ball knock was in vain as Williamson (71) and Taylor (55) set up a 24-run win for New Zealand.
And although India have the higher ranking, their history in New Zealand — where conditions are similar to what they can expect in the upcoming World Cup in England and Wales — is not so good.
They have only won 10 of 35 matches in New Zealand, with a sole series win nine years ago.
The last time they were in New Zealand, in 2014, they were beaten 4-0.
Date: Wednesday January 23, 2019
Timing: 3:00 PM Local Time, 7:30 AM IST, 07:00 AM PKT
Weather: A bright sunny day is expected to greet the teams with the conditions set to favour batsmen.
Conditions: McLean Park in Napier has undergone a revamp following the abandonment of two ODIs against Pakistan and Australia due to poor drainage. It last hosted a completed ODI in the 2015 World Cup. International cricket returns to McLean Park after two summers as the venue had lost its status due to poor drainage facilities. Things have changed, thanks to a lot of investment to upgrade the venue – particularly its turf, drainage and irrigation systems. It has short square boundaries and the reputation of being a batting-friendly venue.
Head to Head:
Matches: 101 | India: 51 | New Zealand: 44 | NR: 1
India: W W L W W (Last five completed matches, most recent first)
New Zealand: W W W L W
India began 2019 by registering their maiden Test series win in Australia and followed it with an ODI series win after being 0-1 down.
The toss-up for the first ODI in Napier could be between Ravindra Jadeja, who is a more condition-specific bowler in ODIs, and the more attacking Kuldeep Yadav, or a third seamer in Mohammed Siraj or Khaleel Ahmed.
India’s Probable XI:
1. Rohit Sharma, 2. Shikhar Dhawan, 3. Virat Kohli (capt), 4. MS Dhoni (wk), 5. Kedar Jadhav, 6. Dinesh Karthik, 7. Vijay Shankar, 8. Ravindra Jadeja/Kuldeep Yadav, 9. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 10. Mohammed Shami, 11. Yuzvendra Chahal.
2. New Zealand
New Zealand are likely to make some changes to the side that completed a clean sweep against Sri Lanka in Nelson.
Tom Latham and Colin de Grandhomme, who were rested during the 3-0 sweep against Sri Lanka will likely be part of the team.
Mitchell Santner could take the allrounder’s spot replacing the injured James Neesham and Matt Henry will likely have to make way for the returning spearhead Trent Boult.
New Zealand‘s Probable XI:
1. Martin Guptill, 2. Colin Munro, 3. Kane Williamson (capt), 4. Ross Taylor, 5. Tom Latham (wk), 6. Henry Nicholls, 7. Colin de Grandhomme, 8. Tim Southee, 9. Mitchell Santner, 10. Trent Boult, 11. Ish Sodhi
Stats and trivia:
- Ross Taylor has 6 fifty-plus score in each of his last six ODI innings.If Ross Taylor scores fifty or more in the first ODI, he’ll become the first player since Javed Miandad in 1987 to register seven successive fifty-plus scores in ODIs. Miandad’s streak of nine fifty-plus scores on the trot tops the list, followed by Taylor and five others with six such scores.
- Last time India won an ODI against New Zealand in New Zealand was way back in 2009 at Hamilton. Since then, both the teams faced off in six matches in the country with the hosts winning five of those while another game ending in a Tie.
99 – Number of wickets Mohammed Shami has bagged in his ODI career thus far. If he picks up at least one wicket in the next three ODI matches, he will become the fastest Indian to complete 100 ODI wickets.
399 – Trent Boult has bagged 399 wickets in International career thus far. He needs one more wicket to become the 5th player to complete 400 wickets across all formats for New Zealand.
4990 – Shikhar Dhawan has scored 4990 runs in ODI. He needs 10 more runs to become the 13th Indian to reach the milestone of 5000 ODI runs.
“The fact they are No. 3 in the world speaks about their consistency over the last couple of years. We played them in India and got beaten in Mumbai, and all the games were competitive and we felt they had a really good balance,” India captain Virat Kohli on the opposition
“We saw [what happened] in the last series, we want to execute a few things better, certainly in the field we want to step up and get back to our old ways,” said Kane Williamson.
“I think it’s going to be a high-scoring affair,” declared New Zealand coach David Stead Tuesday. “I’ll be surprised if it’s not. The wicket is hard and bouncy and the outfield is lightning fast as well.”
Note: This article includes content from AFP.