India’s bowling in focus with the series on the line

Match details
Eden Park, Auckland
February 8, Saturday; 07:30 IST

The main picture
India have developed a bit of a habit of losing the first match of a series. After losing the first ODI of their series against the West Indies and Australia at home, India put up a meek defence of a substantial total (347) in Hamilton, where the manner of defeat will not please the team management. Amid the quest for perfection, India’s fielding, you could argue, let them down, while the bowlers’s failure to pick wickets during the middle overs is an equally significant concern ahead of the second ODI. After going 0-1 down in their last two three-match ODI series, India bounced back to win the contest 2-1, but the recurring bowling failures and shoddy fielding displays need to be addressed to turn it around for a third consecutive series.

Two of India’s premier fast bowlers, Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah, have been unusually blunt as a partnership recently, and both have hemorrhaged runs when the wickets haven’t come. Hamilton is the latest in the catalogue of Shami and Bumrah’s indifferent displays. Shami has picked eight wickets in ODIs this calendar year, but the caveats are four of those came in the Bangalore ODI against Australia and his economy rate is 7.08 runs per over. Bumrah, who’s Kohli’s go-to bowler across formats now, has gone wicket-less in three of the four ODIs. Though his economy rate of 4.78 suggests he’s given India control, Bumrah’s radar has been poor, particularly at the start of the innings, when he has struggled against the left-right batting combination. Also, from the opposition’s perspective, denying Bumrah wickets gives them an edge whether they are in a run-chase or setting India a target.

In addition, India, with Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal not playing together, aren’t picking many wickets during the middle phase of an ODI innings (overs 11 to 40), leaving themselves vulnerable against batting line-ups with the depth of New Zealand to chase down targets in the region of even 350. In all-rounder Hardik Pandya’s absence, India could continue with the bowling combination we saw in the first ODI, but failing to take wickets through the middle overs will often allow the opposition to run away with the match.

For New Zealand, victory in the first ODI is a shot in the arm after a run of eight defeats across the Test and T20I formats. Their bowling attack, much like India’s, lacked potency, but the depth of the batting line-up made the victory possible. It is an aspect that will have India thinking ahead of the second ODI, and which further signifies the need to take wickets in the middle overs.

With James Neesham part of the ODI setup and batting as low as No. 7, New Zealand will fancy chasing stiff targets, and even when they bat first, Colin de Grandhomme and Neesham’s big-hitting prowess can propel them to substantial totals. With the ball, de Grandhomme, as he showed in dismissing debutant Prithvi Shaw, has a more significant role to play than in T20Is, and in conditions that aid swing and seam, the Zimbabwe-born all-rounder will add teeth to the New Zealand bowling attack.

Eden Park Auckland pitch report and weather forecast

The pitch for the second T20I played here offered grip and sharp turn for the spinners, but that was an anomaly. Expect the drop-in pitch that’s in use to be good for batting once again. The short straight boundaries, in particular, make it a high-scoring venue and the captain winning the toss will want to bat second again.

The weather forecast for Saturday predicts only a three per cent chance of precipitation, with it being partly cloudy in the afternoon and evening.

India vs New Zealand 2nd ODI playing 11

Possible New Zealand playing 11: 1 Tom Latham (c & wk), 2 Martin Guptill, 3 Henry Nichollas, 4 Tom Blundell, 5 Ross Taylor, 6 Colin de Grandhomme, 7 James Neesham, 8 Mitchell Santner, 9 Tim Southee, 10 Hamish Bennett, 11 Ish Sodhi/Kyle Jamieson

Possible India playing 11: 1 Virat Kohli (c), 2 Prithvi Shaw, 3 Mayank Agarwal, 4 KL Rahul (wk), 5 Kedar Jadhav, 6 Shreyas Iyer, 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Yuzvendra Chahal, 9 Mohammed Shami, 10 Navdeep Saini, 11 Jasprit Bumrah

India vs New Zealand 2nd ODI telecast channel

The second One-Day International between India and New Zealand will be telecast on the Star Sports network and streamed live on Hotstar. The match can also be viewed on DD National.