New Delhi: If rains do not play spoilsport in Chennai, cricket fans across India might see India completing a clean sweep in the five-match one-day series against New Zealand at the M Chidambaram Stadium on Friday. It will be India’s first clean sweep in a five- match ODI series. However, all depends on the weather conditions with the Met department saying there is possibility of rain and thunderstorm in the city in the next 24 hours.
India is leading the series 4-0 and has dominated the visitors in all aspects of the game. Though the Kiwis found some of their lost confidence and scored big in the last encounter, Yusuf Pathan’s all-round show dashed all their hopes of avoiding their 10th consecutive defeat. If the Indian players continue their devastating show in the final encounter on Friday, it will be New Zealand’s worst series defeat against India since the two sides played each other in 1975-76. And the hosts will look forward thrashing the men in black in the last ODI before leaving for South Africa.
The young Indian side has done remarkably well in the series in the absence of senior players like Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Harbhajan Singh who have been rested ahead of the tough tour to South Africa. A rampaging India has tested its bench strength in the last encounter and there is not much left to experiment in the final match. They just need to control their bowling which allowed J Franklin power the visitors to a mammoth total.
However, for the Kiwis, it’s their last opportunity for redemption. They need to deal with the top order which had crumbled in pressure throughout the series. The Kiwis have failed to capitalize on a good start. Williamson’s dismal show at number 3 might see Ross Taylor being promoted up the order. The Men in Black need to give their best before returning home to face Pakistan ahead of the World Cup.
New Zealand (probable): 1 Brendon McCullum (wk), 2 Martin Guptill, 3 Jamie How/Kane Williamson, 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Scott Styris, 6 James Franklin, 7 Daniel Vettori (capt), 8 Nathan McCullum, 9 Tim Southee, 10 Kyle Mills, 11 Andy McKay
India (probable): 1 Parthiv Patel (wk), 2 Gautam Gambhir (capt), 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Yuvraj Singh, 5 Rohit Sharma, 6 Yusuf Pathan, 7 Saurabh Tiwary, 8 R Ashwin, 9 Praveen Kumar, 10 Munaf Patel, 11 Ashish Nehra.