New Zealand have played three Tests and one ODI on the tour so far. And, they are yet to taste victory.
New Zealand have played three Tests and one ODI on the tour so far. And, they are yet to taste victory. After being blanked 3-0 in the five-day games, they went down by six wickets in the first ODI at Dharamsala. As the teams prepare for the Delhi ODI, the emotions will be extreme in the two camps. While India will go into the clash well aware that they have an upper hand and, by some distance, the New Zealanders will be hoping that the big names come to the party. Their batsmen haven't come to terms with the surfaces here. Another defeat on Thursday, and they might as well bid goodbye to their chances of winning the series.
India are likely to go in with an unchanged side since Suresh Raina is yet to recover from his fever. Even if he does, it is difficult to figure out who India will want to leave out to accommodate him. They have a rather impressive batting line-up after all, especially under the conditions. Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma got the team off to a bright start at Dharamsala, but they will be keen to carry on to something bigger this time. Virat Kohli once again anchored India in a chase. Kohli has made it a habit of winning India tough chases, and this was relatively simple in comparison.
India are experimenting a bit in this series, and the move paid off handsomely as Hardik Pandya debuted with the third best figures by an Indian on debut. He broke the back of New Zealand's batting with his three-for, and it cleared made a big difference as he was declared the man of the match. In the absence of the main spinners, Amit Mishra got a chance to play, and he displayed his skills by running through the tail. Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav and Axar Patel will also be looking to make an impression. Each of them would be well aware that when the main players return, their chances of featuring in the eleven would be slim.
New Zealand would be seriously worried with their batting form. They crumbled to 65 for 7 in the opening match, and although they were able to recover commendably to reach 190, the game was lost by then. The patchy form of opener Martin Guptill as well as Ross Taylor, two of their most experienced players, has been hurting them most. Ross Taylor has registered three ducks on the wretched tour so far, and is yet to hit a fifty, while Guptill has just one to his name. The quandary for New Zealand would obviously be whether to take the risk of replacing them or giving them another go. After all, they have been two of Kiwis' most successful ODI batsmen.
It would also help New Zealand's cause if skipper Kane Williamson is back among the runs. When the tour kicked off, the captain was to be their impact player, but that has far from been the case. All-rounder Corey Anderson could not do much in the previous game. Things can be different if he comes good. In Jimmy Neesham, they have another impact all-rounder. In the bowling, Tim Southee will have to lead from the front, but he will need support from Doug Bracewell. The spin department will be in the hands of Ish Sodhi and Mitchell Santner. They should get some help from the surface, but how much difference it makes remains to be seen.