Australia goes back and their neighbours come to India. ‘Bring the Kiwis on’, would have said, Virat Kohli. The Indian team has looked invincible in the home conditions and winning the ODI series 4-1 against the current World champions would have given them another shot in the arm.
The last time New Zealand toured India, they played a five-match ODI series, which the hosts were able to win 3-2. This time they are going to play a three-match ODI series and as many T20Is matches. The visitors will know that they are some difficult hurdles that they need to jump over.
It is going to be a difficult challenge for the Kiwis.
The Indian team has almost ticked all the boxes thus far in their recent performances and once again they would enter into the series with the expectations that their middle order gives them more stability. The number four position is still not able to produce runs and Manish Pandey would have to show more resilience as he is being backed in place of KL Rahul.
The runs onus has been taken by the top three batsmen and the think tank will demand more from their middle order. The bowlers have done a commendable job and the attribute of the recent success goes to the bowling battery. The fast bowlers have given a perfect platform to the rookie wrist spinners and then they have exploited the conditions to great effect.
Shikhar Dhawan has comeback into the squad after missing the series against Australia and it is expected that he would take the bridle of opening the innings from Ajinkya Rahane. Rahane had scored four half-centuries against Australia and it would be a bit hard on him if he would have to sit out of the playing XI.
The Kiwis will know that they would have to be on their toes to challenge India. The win in the second warm-up match against Board’s President XI would have done them a world of good. They would need their experienced players to hit the ground running and the likes of Martin Guptill, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Ross Taylor and skipper Kane Williamson would have to lead the charge. The youngsters would also have to make their substantial contribution.
Match Prediction: Wankhede pitch should offer a good contest and it is expected to be a run-fest. Both the teams would be looking to kick-start the series on a positive note.
Toss Prediction: New Zealand
Match-Winner Prediction: India
India’s Probable XI: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli (c), Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah.
New Zealand’s Probable XI: Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Kane Williamson (c), Ross Taylor, Tom Latham (wk), Colin de Grandhomme, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Ish Sodhi.
Date and Time: 22nd October 2017, 1:30 PM IST.
Venue: Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai.
Live Telecast: Star Sports 1, Star Sports 3, Hotstar Premium.