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Can India stop New Zealand's home juggernaut in high-scoring Hamilton?

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Jaffer: India might be tempted to go with Kuldeep in place of Chahal (3:08)

The boundaries in Hamilton are very small says Mitchell McClenaghan and reckons another 300-plus score is in the offing (3:08)

Big picture

With 16 matches, New Zealand have played the second-fewest ODIs of any team in the ongoing World Cup Super League. But just one more win, and they can topple India from the top of the table. Given that they've won each of their last 13 ODIs at home, the odds would favour them to do just that.
Having seemingly moved on from Trent Boult and Martin Guptill, the hosts seem to have built a solid foundation as they build towards the 2023 World Cup. Michael Bracewell isn't a guaranteed starter despite his stellar recent form, and even injury to James Neesham couldn't prevent them from beating India comfortably in the series-opener in Auckland.

Their quartet of fast bowlers offer both pace and movement, while Neesham, Bracewell and Mitchell Santner complete a trio of allrounders. Batting depth might be New Zealand's one major concern, given that they can't accommodate all their allrounders, and that Tim Southee's returns with the bat have faded of late.

India, meanwhile, are still in search of a sixth bowling option. None of the top six batters who played in Auckland bowl, and with no Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja or Axar Patel in their squad for this series, they also have a lack of experience in the lower middle order.

They could look to address the sixth-bowler issue by bringing Deepak Hooda into their line-up, but that would leave them with the dilemma of who to leave out. They have the luxury of experimenting, however, since they have automatically qualified as hosts of next year's World Cup. But they still have a series to win, which would need them, first and foremost, to win on Sunday and end a five-match losing streak against New Zealand.

Form guide

New Zealand: WLLLW (Last five completed ODIs; most recent first)
India: LWWLW

In the spotlight

Kane Williamson has played just seven ODIs since the 2019 World Cup, with five of them coming this year. A troublesome elbow and the Covid-19 pandemic combined to limit his participation in the format, and his seven innings in this time have brought only one 50-plus score. That came at Eden Park on Friday, when he selflessly kept giving the dangerous Tom Latham the strike, and eventually ended up six short of a century. With less than a year left for the World Cup, New Zealand will not only hope their captain puts his fitness worries behind him and features more regularly in ODIs, but also that he makes big scores as often as he used to.
Yuzvendra Chahal has been the third-highest wicket-taker among spinners from Full-Member teams in ODIs this year, with 21 wickets at an average of 27.09. But he's not had a great time of it in recent weeks. Having spent the entire T20 World Cup on the bench, Chahal returned to action on this tour of New Zealand, where he has taken a bit of stick: he went for 35 in three overs in the tied third T20I, and began this ODI series with a wicketless 10 overs that went for 66 runs. With intense competition in the spin department ahead of the 2023 World Cup, Chahal will need a swift return to his best to remain among India's first-choice options.

Team news

New Zealand were forced to leave Neesham out in Auckland due to a niggle. If he returns, they might have a difficult choice to make. While they will welcome the extra batting depth he offers if he replaces one of the four specialist quicks, they might need him to bowl his full ten-over quota, with Daryl Mitchell and Glenn Phillips having been used very sparingly of late.
New Zealand (probable): 1 Finn Allen, 2 Devon Conway, 3 Kane Williamson (capt), 4 Tom Latham (wk), 5 Daryl Mitchell, 6 Glenn Phillips, 7 James Neesham, 8 Mitchell Santner, 9 Tim Southee, 10 Matt Henry, 11 Lockie Ferguson

There is a chance India might bring in Hooda as a sixth bowling option, but this could force them to leave out Suryakumar Yadav, who hasn't yet replicated his T20I success in ODIs. He was the only member of India's top seven to be dismissed for a single-digit score in Auckland, and his last seven ODI innings have brought him a highest score of just 27. India's three fast bowlers were all expensive in Auckland, so there is a chance that Deepak Chahar could replace one of them.

India (probable): 1 Shikhar Dhawan (capt), 2 Shubman Gill, 3 Shreyas Iyer, 4 Rishabh Pant (wk), 5 Suryakumar Yadav/Deepak Hooda, 6 Sanju Samson, 7 Washington Sundar, 8 Shardul Thakur/Deepak Chahar, 9 Umran Malik, 10 Arshdeep Singh, 11 Yuzvendra Chahal

Pitch and conditions

Seddon Park in Hamilton has hosted only three ODIs since 2020, with two of them producing first-innings scores in excess of 330. India scored 347 in one of them, only for New Zealand to hunt it down comfortably thanks to a Ross Taylor century. Expect another high-scoring game come Sunday. There remains a good chance of rain interrupting play, however, with showers forecast throughout the afternoon and evening.

Stats and trivia

  • India posted contrasting totals of 92 in 2019 and 347 in 2020 while batting first in their last two ODIs at Seddon Park, and lost both matches.

  • Tim Southee got to 200 ODI wickets while taking 3 for 73 in the first ODI, and two more wickets will take him past Chris Harris and into third place among New Zealand's highest ODI wicket-takers.

  • Since Dhawan's ODI debut, only three batters have scored at least 6000 runs at a 90-plus strike rate. Dhawan's strike rate is second on that list, sandwiched between those of his team-mates Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma.

Quotes

"You can catch up, and give yourself more time. It's 50 overs… you've got that time up your sleeve to get the innings going and play your innings."
New Zealand batting coach Luke Ronchi on how Tom Latham and co pulled off a chase of 307 in Auckland despite a sedate start.