India Vs New Zealand: Following a convincing win by six wickets over formidable India, in the first match of the three-match One-day International series at iconic Wankhede, New Zealand could further boast about delivering goods against the hosts’ much-hyped spinners; in the form of chinaman Kuldeep Yadav and legspinner Yuvzvendra Chahal.
The challenges would be eventually thrown in visitors’ way and whether they would be able to overcome the stern test — the remainder of the series will pan out for us, as batting is supposed to play a crucial role for Kiwis.
However, the street-smart skipper Kane Williamson is wary of the fact that formidable India could bounce back at any time while relying on their strength back home, as the Black Caps’ weakness lies in facing the slow-bowlers on a surface which would likely happen to assist spin bowlers.
Tamed Spin Attack:
The sublime show from left-handed Tom Latham and experienced campaigner at the top Ross Taylor have further boosted the morale of the visitors — to give their best before leading 1-0 in the 50-over competition.
In the first fixture, Ross-Latham forged an exactly 200-run stand for the fourth wicket which further saw wicket-keeper batsman playing according to the merit while taming the hosts’ spinners with his stroke-making — to register his sixth ODI hundred, in his overall 59th 50-over game.
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The southpaw Latham has dominated the spin bowling attack of wrist spinners Chahal and Yadav, as his knock of 103 included eight boundaries and two maximums and his consistency would be fruitful for the visitors.
On the other end, Taylor, who is strong on his side, has a key role to play for the visitors, as he registered a sensible score of 95 which helped the cause of the team.
Taylor, who has been at the forefront to knit the partnership for Kiwis went on to, struck eight boundaries in his controlled innings which came at the strike-rate of exactly 95.
It would be, however, interesting to see how the 25-year-old left-handed batsman Henry Nicholls would emerge after smashing winning runs for his side.
What different the well-prepared Men in Black did other than Australia? It was their rotation of the strike and further kept on punishing the bad balls while facing the decent bowling attack which thoroughly won the games for Virat Kohli-led India recently.
Precisely, the fast bowling attack shouldered the responsibility for the Black Caps, as prominent Trent Boult picked four scalps and his bowling partner Tim Southee, who was a tad too expensive claimed three wickets, in a bid to share seven wickets in the game.
Moreover, the Wankhede surface is predominantly touted to be full of runs, but the double-paced wicket asked too many questions to the hosts’ batters, as skipper Kohli at the other end made us believe that every different wicket suits him to amass runs.
The Decent Start:
As partnership is said to be playing an imperative role in the gentleman’s game, Martin Guptill and Colin Munro were following the suit — to give New Zealand a cautious start for the first wicket and they would be aiming to replicate the same in Pune after Wankhede win.
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As the 1st innings average score at the MCA Stadium is 327, the team winning the toss might opt to bat first as the second innings average is 294.
With the pitch having a lot of runs on an offer, the Kiwis bowlers have to give their best to restrict the hosts which are capable of posting big scores owing to their terrific record particularly in the 50-over format.
Boult, who proved to be a decisive factor for the visitors, have had to replicate his Wankhede performance against a side which is capable of piling up the miseries for its opposition both with the bat and a ball.
However, brimming with confidence, Kiwis top-order has a potential to give their best which was on display even after captain Williamson returned to the pavilion after scoring six.
The 22-yard surface is expected to assist the slow-bowlers and the competition between spinners of two different oppositions would be interesting to watch out for, as we could expect Ish Sodhi in place of fast bowler Adam Milne, who went wicket-less after conceding 62 runs in his nine overs.
Interestingly, the pitch was termed as ‘substandard’ by ICC for the Test in February, this year during India-Australia Text fixture.
However, the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) members have had put strenuous efforts — to prepare the wicket which has a lot on an offer for the spectators as well.
Here’s the Predicted XI of the Black Caps:
Kane Williamson (skipper) Colin Munro, Martin Guptill, Ross Taylor, Tom Latham (gloveman), Henry Nicholls, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Adam Milne/Ish Sodhi.