Mumbai: India will continue its cricket war against New Zealand at Dharamsala. But this time, it will be little different. The teams will don a coloured outfit in the Himalayan town rather than the white outfit of Test.
Kiwis would be hoping that change of outfit colour would also change their fortunes as they begin their five match one-day international (ODI) series against India. And they have a good reason to hope so.
New Zealand are ranked higher than India in ODIs. Kane Williamson’s team is placed third in the ICC ODI rankings, one above India, which is placed fourth in the rankings.
The MS Dhoni-led team will have to win the five ODI series by at least a 4-1 margin to move up a position in the rankings. However, it’s going to be a tough challenge for the hosts.
The last time these two teams met in a five match ODI series, India was battered to a 4-0 series loss, with one match ending as a tie. I repeat, India was literally battered! Dhoni will be looking to improve his record against the Black Caps.
The Kiwi team welcomes back pacer Tim Southee and hitman Corey Anderson for the ODIs. Southee along with Trent Boult, the highest ranked ODI bowler are bound to trouble any batting line-up.
Anderson has the highest strike rate of any Kiwi player in history and once held the record for fastest ODI century before AB de Villiers smashed the 31-ball ton. Martin Guptill and Ross Taylor, who looked clueless against the spin in Test series, are one of the best batsmen in the shorter format. Also, we must not forget that this New Zealand team made it to the final of 2015 World Cup.
On top of all of this, India have rested their premier spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja for the first three ODIs. The duo collectively took 41 out of 60 Kiwi wickets in the Test series. Somewhere captain Williamson just breathe a sigh of relief.
On the other hand, India have not played many ODIs in 2016. They whitewashed Zimbabwe in the last ODI series they played in June, but that was a much different second string Indian side. India’s only other ODI series of 2016 did not end too well for MS Dhoni and Co. The team lost the series 4-1 to Australia down under.
However, at home, India are always a force to reckon. Players like, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane are in terrific form, and will make life difficult for Kiwi bowlers.
For the touring Kiwi side, the limited over format is and was the only chance to take something back from this tour. And the Black Caps will do everything to hit back at India in the series.
India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Captain and wicketkeeper), Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Manish Pandey, Jayant Yadav, Axar Patel, Jasprit Bumrah, Kedar Jhadav, Mandeep Singh, Amit Mishra, Dhawal Kulkarni, Umesh Yadav, Hardik Pandya
New Zealand: Kane Williamson (Captian), Corey Anderson, Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Anton Devcich, Martin Guptill, Tom Latham, Matt Henry, James Neesham, Luke Ronchi (wicketkeeper), Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Ross Taylor, BJ Watling, Tim Southee....