As in the T20Is, rain has effectively turned the ODIs into a two match series too, except New Zealand are now leading 1-0 and India can square it off at best. But rain threatens to spoil the game, including in Christchurch, although there is a chance that a shortened game will be squeezed out around the showers.
Whether it’s a full 50-50 game or a reduced game – as they tried in the Hamilton ODI – the pressure will be on India. Not only because they are behind, but also because they lack first choice players and had no ideas when they defended 306 in the series opener. India then had only five bowling options and replaced Sanju Samson with Deepak Hooda to have a sixth bowler’s belt in the next match where rain allowed only 12.5 overs.
New Zealand also has an enviable 10-1 win-loss record at Hagley Oval in ODIs, with chasing teams having won their last three ODIs. So if India loses the toss for the third time in a row, they will have to score big. The question is whether they have that firepower – and the mentality – in the current lineup.
Like India, New Zealand is also building towards the 2023 ODI World Cup starting with this series. They are number 1, they don’t have to worry about qualifying at the Super League table and they haven’t lost an ODI series at home since early 2019 when India won 4-1.
Following the washout in Hamilton, New Zealand would like to give some more playing time to Finn Allen and Michael Bracewell, who have played most of their ODI cricket against lower-ranked sides in the past. There is also quite a bit of inexperience in their percussion, with the exception of Kane Williamson and Tom Latham, and Devon Conway; so Allen and Glenn Phillips could take the opportunity to put in some runs and make a mark in the ODIs in Pakistan in January 2023.
New Zealand WLLLW (last five completed matches, most recent first)
Sanju Samson social media trends as soon as he is left out of the XI, or any time he hits a sharp boundary, as he did a few times in the opening game during his 36 out of 38. But then he was dropped for Deepak Hooda as India desperately needed a sixth bowler. Whoever plays on Wednesday is in the spotlight; Samson to score runs to cement his place in the middle order and Hooda to not only score but also control the runs with the ball and pick up a few wickets with his part-time offspin.
Michael Bracewell will be back where he brought back 2 for 14 from four overs last month, in a T20I against Pakistan. He came on for Adam Milne in the second ODI, and if he gets another chance in the final game, his lower-order batting could come in handy for New Zealand, but his offspin will be tested by India’s batsmen on a pitch that assists stroke play and fast bowlers.
There was hardly any playing time in Hamilton, and New Zealand may not feel the need to change teams unless they want to go back to playing four quicks, as they did in Auckland’s ODI.
New Zealand (likely): 1 Finn Allen, 2 Devon Conway, 3 Kane Williamson (capt), 4 Daryl Mitchell, 5 Tom Latham (wk), 6 Glenn Phillips, 7 Mitchell Santner, 8 Michael Bracewell/Adam Milne, 9 Matt Henry, 10 Tim Southee, 11 Lockie Ferguson
Will India bring Samson back as a pure batting option, but Hooda will likely play for his bowling, which could be especially useful against left-handed batters Conway, Latham and Mitchell Santner. And will Kuldeep Yadav finally get a game? He was in both the T20I and ODI squads, but has yet to play on the tour, and is not even in the squad for Bangladesh’s ODIs next month.
India (likely): 1 Shikhar Dhawan (capt), 2 Shubman Gill, 3 Shreyas Iyer, 4 Suryakumar Yadav, 5 Rishabh Pant (wk), 6 Sanju Samson/Deepak Hooda, 7 Washington Sundar, 8 Deepak Chahar, 9 Umran Malik, 10 Arshdeep Singh, 11 Yuzvendra Chahal/Kuldeep Yadav
Showers are forecast for Wednesday and if the match is cut short the coin toss becomes crucial and bowl first becomes the choice again. Tickets are only sold out for the second men’s day and night ODI at Hagley Oval, where the hard pitch is expected to help the fast bowlers and batters.
New Zealand has not lost an ODI series at home since January 2019 and cannot lose it. Their next ODI series at home is against Sri Lanka at the end of March.
“As a team we’ve played pretty good one-day cricket for a long time. The format suits us. There are still plenty of games leading up to that World Cup and we’ll learn more as a team and about the team.”
Senior bowler Tim Southee is confident in the team’s preparations for next year’s ODI World Cup
“I benefit from bowling with him because the batters can be tricked when the pace drops from 155 km/h to 135 km/h. We enjoy bowling together and off the pitch as well.”
Arshdeep Singh on his bowling experience with fellow debutant Umran Malik in the first ODI