India is hosting five-match One Day International series against New Zealand with the first match scheduled in Dharamsala on Sunday. They will be eyeing to carry their Test momentum and claim another whitewash.
The hosts are flying high after they crushed the Black Caps in all three Tests and re-claimed the throne of ICC Tests rankings from their arch-rivals Pakistan.
However, Mahendra Singh Dhoni will be leading the squad instead of Virat Kohli. Regardless of being the most successful Indian skipper and achieving all the cricket accolades, his form is dipping.
India have suffered losses in three out of last five ODI series. They bowed down to Bangladesh, South Africa and Australia. Furthermore, their only recent series win came over Zimbabwe.
Thus the home side will be squaring off New Zealand at almost similar level despite clean sweeping them in the longer format. Furthermore, they will only play eight ODIs since the Champions Trophy starts next year whereas the Black Caps will be looking forward to three times more ODI matches during the same period.
The 35 year old will be looking forward to cement his leadership role for the Champions Trophy after showing brilliant skills in the upcoming matches. The Test skipper Virat Kohli has delivered and now the pressure will be on Dhoni.
India will be deprived of the star bowlers Ravichandran Ashwin and RavindraJadeja who are being rested for the busy schedule. However, Amit Mishra will be hoping to unveil tricks from his arsenal of skills in Dharmsala and re-claim a permanent spot in the starting XI.
Raina’s dipping form will also concern Dhoni a lot since his presence assured a stable middle order prior to the World Cup 2015. He was also used a fifth or sixth bowler in the matches.
Dhoni and his men need to claim a 4-1 series victory in order to climb to number three in the ICC ODI rankings.
New Zealand are currently ranked third in the ODI rankings with 113 points whereas the hosts are standing at number four with 110 points.
The visitors can take advantage of India’s poor ODI forms and the unavailability of the star bowlers. They need to display their best in the match to grab their maiden victory of the tour.
However, the stats go against the Black Caps since they have never conquered a bilateral series in India after suffering losses in past four series. The tourists have a better winning record on Indian soil in big multi nation tournaments but they have a poor record in the ODI series against India.
New Zealand last played a bilateral series in India six years ago. However, they suffered a humiliating 5-0 whitewash.
Corey Anderson’s return to the squad will boost their chances of success. However, the youngster who has recovered from back stress injury for the second time will be playing as a specialist batsman only in the series.
Their one of the most successful bowler Tim Southee has also returned to the line-up and will help the side a lot. He has claimed 135 scalps in the 50-over format. However, Southee was ruled out of the Test series due to an ankle injury and has not played a single ODI this year.
Southee will assist Trent Boult, who is ruling the ODI bowling list, in order to trouble the Indian batsmen.
Despite displaying poor form in Tests, Martin Guptil and Ross Taylor are expected to find their form in the 50-over format and trouble the hosts.
The toss will play crucial role in the match as the dew will be the major concern in the night time.
The visitors are expected to turn the tide towards their favour with the absence of Ashwin, Jadeja and Muhammad Shami and claim the victory in the opening ODI.