It’s that time in the cycle of endless cricket when the 50-over format springs back to life. The T20 World Cup is over, and with the next ODI World Cup less than 12 months away, the three-match series between New Zealand and India commencing on Friday in Auckland will be the start of their build-up towards the global event.
New Zealand, the No.1-ranked ODI team at the moment, are sitting pretty on the Super League points table with 11 wins from 15 games. Only Afghanistan have better percentage points than them thus far in the league
New Zealand did lose the rain-hit T20I series 1-0 to India but they will know the only difference between the two sides was Suryakumar Yadav. And in ODI cricket, there is a lower probability of one player having that big an impact on a match. Moreover, they can take inspiration from India’s previous tour to the country, when the visitors won the T20I series 5-0 but New Zealand bounced back to blank them 3-0 in ODIs (and 2-0 in Tests).
Kane Williamson is back after missing the third T20I because of a pre-arranged medical appointment. While he has struggled for acceleration in the shortest format, he has spent enough time in the middle, and the change in tempo that ODI cricket brings should suit him. Williamson will be joined by Tom Latham in the middle order, while Matt Henry, who has an excellent record against India, will bolster the pace attack.
India have automatically qualified for next year’s ODI World Cup by virtue of being hosts. And despite Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah missing from this series, they still have a quality squad. Shikhar Dhawan is India’s stand-in captain once again and will open the innings with Shubman Gill – the duo has three century stands in eight ODIs.
Deepak Hooda might be the only batter in India’s squad who can be trusted as a sixth bowling option but in Washington Sundar, Deepak Chahar and Shardul Thakur, India have plenty of batting depth.
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