Pune: Virat Kohli’s men take the field against Kane Williamson’s Black Caps in the all important second match of the series, looking to bounce back after losing the first match of the series.
As for India’s performance in the previous ODI series against Australia, Kohli’s men clearly dominated the Aussies as they won the ODI series convincingly. However, one gets the feeling that as much as the Indians are up against a spirited New Zealand outfit, they must counter complacency as well, which might have cost them the Mumbai match, as many feel.
Riding high on their 6-wicket win over India, New Zealand-powered by their batting prowess would bank on the in-form Tom Latham and Ross Taylor to deliver the goods again on a flat-looking MCA Stadium track.
The last time India played at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune, the ICC labelled the pitch ‘poor’, as the first match of the three-Test series between India and Australia had ended in the post-tea session on the third day. All eyes would be on 18 yard strip as the teams would expect a run- fest at the MCA Stadium on Wednesday.
Having built the reputation of a side that can decimate oppositions at will, India find themselves with their backs to the wall. After registering back-to- back series wins against Sri Lanka and Australia, a loss doesn’t bring the side under scanner but definitely leaves them needing a touch-up.
In all fairness though, the bowlers should have been more proactive as Sunday was the first time in over a year that they picked just four wickets in a home ODI. The ease
with which the Kiwis dominated India’s chinaman duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal should be a concern too.
In the bowling department, apart from medium-pacer Hardik Pandya (1/46) no other player made their mark.
New Zealand, on the other hand, has ticked most of the boxes in the first match, having bounced back from the defeat in the first of the warm-up matches in Mumbai. Their top-order batsmen clicked and the bowlers also did a good job.
Experienced pacer Trent Boult (4/35) made his mark and the other bowlers supported him at the other end.
The visitors will now be aiming for a win again as it will give New Zealand their first bilateral series win in India, having lost all five preceding series while India will look to equalise.