In what was projected as a tough contest, the New Zealand tour, so far, has appeared to be a one-way contest in favour of the visitors. The spin attack in skipper Virat Kohli’s arsenal has made the New Zealand batting line-up appear feeble and weak. As the two teams meet again for the third ODI on Monday, the men in blue will look to seal the series, already having a 2-0 lead in the 5-match ODI series.
All eyes are likely to be on Kohli, as he would be eager to go into his well-deserved break on a high, possibly with his first century in the ongoing series. Given a break as part of BCCI’s workload management programme, the right-handed batsman will hope he could end his visit to New Zealand with another ton. In the past three innings, Kohli has been dismissed for 40s, and the 30-year-old would hope to get more runs under his belt.
The third ODI is also likely to see the return of Hardik Pandya, who was suspended along with KL Rahul for his controversial remarks on a talk show. The allrounder’s return will ensure balance in the ODI side, something even Kohli has admitted time and again. His replacement Vijay Shankar, who was only given two overs in the second ODI, did not create the impact and Pandya, at No. 6, could prove useful in the batting department as well.
New Zealand will look to find the solution to the wrist-spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal, who accounted for 12 of the 20 wickets in the first two ODIs. While Kuldeep claimed two four-wicket hauls, Chahal returned with two wickets in both the matches. Seamers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami have also contributed well in New Zealand’s demolition.
Meanwhile, in the batting department, India have benefitted with the return of Shikhar Dhawan to form. He scored an unbeaten 75 in the first ODI before making 67-ball 66 in the second game. Vice-captain Rohit Sharma made up for a poor show in the first ODI by bringing up his 14th century stand with Dhawan.
For the Black Caps, none of the other batters could convert their starts except captain Kane Williamson had top-scored in the first ODI with his 36th half-century, and all-rounder Doug Bracewell made a 46-ball 57.
India: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, Vijay Shankar, Shubman Gill, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Siraj, Khaleel Ahmed, Ravindra Jadeja, Hardik Pandya.
New Zealand: Kane Williamson (captain), Ross Taylor, Tom Latham, Martin Guptill, Colin de Grandhomme, Trent Boult, Henry Nicholls, Doug Bracewell, Lockie Ferguson, Matt Henry, Colin Munro, Ish Sodhi, Micthell Santner, Tim Southee.
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