All the hype surrounding the clash between the Number 2 and 3 sides in one-day cricket turned out to be a false alarm in the first game, for India thrashed New Zealand by eight wickets in a no-contest.Will the second game in Tauranga be any different? New Zealand will have to lift themselves quickly if they are to stop this Indian juggernaut.
India had the perfect day out in the first match in Napier. They took only 38 overs to dismiss New Zealand for a paltry 157. Mohammed Shami triggered the collapse with two early wickets, before Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal ran through the rest of the order. The target was never going to be a problem for India, who raced home in 34.5 overs. Shikhar Dhawan used the chance to get among the runs and started the series with an unbeaten 75 to set up the eight-wicket win.

India are unlikely to change anything from Wednesday’s game. The only change in their squad is Hardik Pandya’s return, but he’s unlikely to be available straight away. Virat Kohli will take a break after the third game, and will be looking to make the most of his remaining two matches. He’d be eager to head home only after sealing the series!

Kane Williamson warned against panicking after just one loss. He’s justified in saying so, for New Zealand have done enough in recent times to suggest Wednesday’s game was a one-off case. Their batting group scored in excess of 300 in each of the three games against Sri Lanka recently. But for them to do an encore, they’ll have to handle the wrist spinners better.

India’s spinners got seven wickets among them in the first match on a track that wasn’t even a big turner. One of the key reasons for that was that they were on the backfoot already when Kohli brought his spinners on. That was thanks to Shami getting rid of Martin Guptill and Colin Munro early; if New Zealand can improve at the top, the rest will become easier.

Even as everyone failed with the bat, New Zealand skipper Williamson continued his steady form with a 64. All he needs is a bit more support, which the likes of Ross Taylor are more than capable of providing.

In some ways, India too will want New Zealand’s batsmen to step up. Only then can India test their batting combinations, particularly in the middle order. One of the big takeaways from the Australia series for India was their middle order winning matches, and that was possible only because Australia posted competitive totals.

India had made one key change in the batting order for the first game, with Ambati Rayudu back to his No. 4 spot. It meant Dinesh Karthik was out of the XI and pushed MS Dhoni down the order. India didn’t get to learn much about that combination, though, for New Zealand didn’t put up enough runs on board. Either way, the middle order is likely to be exposed more in the final two matches when Kohli won’t be available.

The Bay Oval at Tauranga, the venue for the second ODI, is known for good batting conditions. New Zealand will be hoping to make the best of that before it gets too late in the series.

Squads:

New Zealand: Kane Williamson(c), Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Colin Munro, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor.

India: Virat Kohli(c), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Dinesh Karthik, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Siraj, K Khaleel Ahmed, Mohammed Shami, Vijay Shankar, Shubman Gill, Hardik Pandya.

First Published: January 25, 2019, 9:33 AM IST