India wrapped up a T20I series whitewash over New Zealand with a triumph in the final match at Mount Maunganui. Once again, the Black Caps were unable to put together a complete performance to compete with the tourists. India were even able to secure the victory without the presence of Virat Kohli in the line-up. Rohit Sharma led the team in his absence and was outstanding with the bat, scoring an unbeaten half-century before he was forced to retire hurt.
The tourists posted a competitive score of 163/8 from their 20 overs before the India bowlers took control to limit the home side to 156, with Jasprit Bumrah taking centre stage with figures of 3-12 from his four overs. Ross Taylor and Tim Seifert put forward spirited efforts, but it was not enough to stop their side from falling to a defeat. They now must turn the page to get back on track in the ODI series. The sides are ranked second and third respectively in the 50-over format so it should be an enthralling three matches, although the Black Caps will be under pressure to respond from their whitewash, beginning at Seddon Park.
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New Zealand endured a torrid time during the T20I series. The home side lacked a clinical edge when it mattered the most in all five games. The result of the series could have been very different had they held their composure under pressure. However, Kane Williamson’s men were unable to hold their nerve in all three disciplines. The Black Caps will be boosted by the return of Tom Latham at the top of the order after he missed the T20I series with a hand injury.
Henry Nicholls also comes back into the fold, handing Williamson two experienced batsmen to place into the line-up. It will ease the burden on the skipper and Taylor to score the bulk of the runs, although the India attack remains potent. New Zealand’s bowling ranks will again be without Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult and Matt Henry, leaving Tim Southee and company to battle against India’s powerful batsmen.
India’s win over New Zealand in the final match of the T20I series came at a cost. Sharma suffered a calf injury that halted his progress with the bat and has now ruled him out of the ODI series. It will give a younger player a chance to make a name for himself at the top of the order given that Shikhar Dhawan is also injured. However, the form of India’s fledging players has not been encouraging on the tour. Shreyas Iyer, Shivam Dube and Sanju Samson have not been able to make a positive impact on the field. The pressure will be on them to prove a point in the absence of Sharma to ensure that Kohli and Lokesh Rahul are not carrying the team on their own.
Iyer more than most must perform given the time and investment that the selectors have placed in him. He has a good record in his 13 matches to date, averaging 44.25, but the 25-year-old needs a statement innings. The bowling attack should remain the same as Bumrah continues to excel, while Shardul Thakur and Mohammed Shami will retain their spots. Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav will be battling for the spinner’s role, although the former was solid during the T20I series.
Shreyas Iyer to be India’s top batsman – 7/1 Dafabet
The weather in Hamilton should not be an issue on Wednesday, with warm weather and bright sunshine predicted for the entirety of the day. The temperature will peak at 24°C during the afternoon and will edge down towards 18°C in the evening. The conditions should be perfect for the contest without any hint of rain in the region. It should not give an advantage to either side.
India were ruthless during the T20I series and will be desperate to carry that form forward into the ODIs. Their batting ranks have been depleted by the loss of Sharma, which could leave them vulnerable to the Black Caps’ bowlers. If Ferguson or Boult were fit it may have been a problem, but there’s not enough quality in depth in the New Zealand bowling attack to trouble the tourists. The hosts have been strengthened by the additions of Latham and Nicholls.
Whether it is enough to allow New Zealand to compete with India remains to be seen. It will ease the pressure on Williamson and Taylor, but the unit has been inconsistent to say the least of late. Bumrah has been sensational in the 20-over format and he is just as brilliant in the 50-over game. There are few weak links in India’s bowling ranks outside of the part time spin of Shivam Dube. They are playing complementary cricket with the batting, bowling and field all working well in sync. It will be enough to guide them to a victory in the opening match of the ODI series.
India to beat New Zealand 1st ODI – 4/9 Dafabet
Jasprit Bumrah was operating at the peak of his powers in the final T20I of the series. He produced an incredible spell of bowling, taking three wickets for 12 runs from his four overs. Bumrah should be on form once again in Hamilton for the opening ODI.
Jasprit Bumrah to be India’s top bowler – 11/5 Betway
|All Rounders||Mitchell Santner