India favourites in winner-takes-all clash

Match details

Green Park, Kanpur
October 29, Sunday; 13:30 IST
Star Sports 1, Star Sports HD 1, Star Sports Hindi 1 HD, Hindi 1, Tamil

The main picture

These two teams have basically cancelled each other out, New Zealand winning the first ODI emphatically by six wickets and India winning by the same margin in the second ODI. Not just the margin, both teams have won chasing, their bowling attacks have set up the victories and the batting line-ups haven’t shown the usual pressure of chasing. And, as a result, we do not have to read much into the performances of either of these sides from the first two ODIs.

Looking ahead to the third ODI, the ability to handle the pressure of a winner-takes-all match might well come in handy. India, by virtue of playing a do-or-die match and winning the same by bringing their A-game to the fore, will feel more confident than the Blackcaps. And New Zealand might also rue the missed opportunity to seal the series in Pune. So, other than the key, on-field elements, the final ODI in Kanpur will test the psyche of India and New Zealand.

Talking about the ‘other key elements’, Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson along with the team management have either misread the pitches at the Wankhede Stadium and MCA Stadium or just made the wrong decision after winning the toss.

In Mumbai, Kohli won the toss and chose to field first and though India didn’t bat to potential, they might have been better off chasing (which is anyway their forte), not to mention batting became slightly easier for the team batting second once the new balls had lost their shine. In Pune, where the boundaries are small and the pitch is reasonably good for batting, Williamson, rather than sticking to what had brought him and his team success, opted to bat first and this decision backfired. Though I don’t discredit the Indian bowling attack, who redeemed themselves and were back to their best, the Kiwis shot themselves in the foot!

The Green Park in Kanpur has never hosted a day-night ODI match until now and Sunday’s will be the first. So, we don’t yet know how the pitch might behave under lights. Over the last two IPL seasons, a fair few of Gujarat Lions’ home matches have been played at this venue and we need to stress that the teams batting second have won more. Plus, this is a relatively small ground too. Sunday’s forecast says that the weather will be clear and sunny, with a maximum temperature of 32 degree Celsius.

Recent form

IND: WLWLW (last five One-Day Internationals, from left to right)

3rd ODI: India vs New Zealand playing XI

India were tactically very astute in Pune, where they brought in Axar Patel for Kuldeep Yadav and largely curbed the Kiwi batsmen employing the sweep, while Yuzvendra Chahal bowled from around the wicket and Kedar Jadhav,¬†whose golden arm wasn’t utilised in Mumbai, helped choke up the runs. Not to mention, the field placing was better too.

For the final ODI, expect India to stick with their winning combination.

Probable India playing XI for the third ODI: 1 Virat Kohli (c), 2 Rohit Sharma, 3 Shikhar Dhawan, 4 Dinesh Karthik, 5 Kedar Jadhav, 6 MS Dhoni (wk), 7 Hardik Pandya, 8 Axar Patel, 9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 10 Jasprit Bumrah, and 11 Yuzvendra Chahal

New Zealand desperately need their captain to come good with the bat. He has fallen for scores of 6 and 3 in the first two ODIs and his failures have no doubt let the team down. While the experiment with Tom Latham has been successful, the move to have Colin Munro open the batting has so far been a failure. Despite these worrying failures, I do not foresee any change in the batting department. The bowling attack has collectively fared well and is likely to be persisted with for the third and final ODI.

Likely New Zealand playing 11: 1 Kane Williamson (c), 2 Martin Guptill, 3 Colin Munro, 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Tom Latham (wk), 6 Henry Nicholls, 7 Colin de Grandhomme, 8 Mitchell Santner, 9 Adam Milne, 10 Tim Southee, and 11 Trent Boult

Match prediction

India, by virtue of their impressive all-round display which helped attain parity in the series, have a psychological edge over New Zealand. But the visitors have many a quality player in their ranks and are capable of bouncing back after an ordinary showing.

I expect the toss to hold the key once again, with the team batting second potentially having the match and pitch conditions in their favour for the third match running. All aspects considered, India ought to be looked at as favourites.

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