New Zealand vs India 1st ODI: After a historic tour of Australia where they won their first ever Test series and a bilateral ODI series, the Indian Cricket Team move south to New Zealand. The white-ball series against the Blackcaps is apparently a tougher assignment for the Men In Blue.
Both the neighbouring nations had contrasting cricketing year in 2018. Australia won just one series in 2018 across all formats and New Zealand lost just one, the T20I tri-series which involved both these nations. Since then, the Aussie graph has only gone down while New Zealand have only gotten stronger.
Forget about a series win, it has been close to 10 years when the Indian team last won an ODI against New Zealand in New Zealand. With the sides evenly lined up this time, the series is set to be an enthralling contest and a dress rehearsal for the 2019 World Cup.
Venue: McLean Park, Napier
We will have to turn the pages of the history books to look at the past records in the McLean Park. The two scheduled ODIs at the venue since World Cup 2015 have been washed out and the three one-dayers in Napier during that tournament involved UAE and Afghanistan.
In order to find stats of any relevance, we will have to go back to February 2015, when the Blackcaps crushed Pakistan after hammering them for 369 in the first innings. Rewinding back further, the Kiwis defeated their upcoming rivals, India by posting 292 in the first innings.
Considering the batting prowess of both the sides, the Napier ODI could be another runfest. Since the beginning of 2018, only England posted more 300+ totals (8) than both the sides in the limelight here – New Zealand (5) and India (4).
And if you take only the first innings scores into account, then again, India and New Zealand are the clear winners along with England.
(all of Pakistan's three 300+ totals came against Zimbabwe)
New Zealand: Nothing against Sri Lanka, but considering the competitiveness of the Indian side, the hosts can bring in their big names back into the side. There could be a toss up between Colin de Grandhomme and Mitchell Santner who last played an ODI 10 months ago.
Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner/Colin de Grandhomme, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Lockie Ferguson, Ish Sodhi
India: Predicting the Indian line-up is a tough task given the instability in their balance that has been caused by Hardik Pandya’s absence. Vijay Shankar is most certain to fill that void but to what extent, it remains to be seen.
The visitors might be tempted to play Khaleel Ahmed as the third seamer owing to the swing-friendly conditions in New Zealand. Spinners suffer at the McLean which can persuade India to drop Ravindra Jadeja after Chahal made a strong case for himself with a 6-wicket haul in Melbourne.
Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, Vijay Shankar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed/Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammad Shami, Yuzvendra Chahal
FanFight Fantasy Cricket Picks for New Zealand vs India 1st ODI
Picking a wicket-keeper for this encounter is a tricky decision. In Tom Latham, you can get a solid batsman in the middle-order who has averages 75 with the bat against India and knows how to counter their spinners with his sweep shots.
On the other hand, MS Dhoni was the second highest run-scorer for India when he last visited New Zealand. Dhoni hasn’t been at his marauding best but has proved his worth to the Indian side with three consecutive fifties in Australia.
The game offers too many star batsmen you cannot afford to miss out on. From the Kiwi camp, each of the batsmen in their first choice XI holds a praiseworthy record against India in New Zealand (except Munro and Nicholls who are yet to face the Indian bowlers in home conditions).
The worrying bit for the Indian bowlers – All of them have struck form.
But two batsmen Indian bowlers will need to worry the most about are Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor. During India’s last bilateral series in New Zealand, both of them compiled half the share of the total number of runs scored by the Blackcaps, putting up three 100+ stands in five games.
Indian batting revolves largely around their top 3 but in New Zealand conditions, only Virat Kohli turns up as a reliable batsman. While Rohit Sharma just manages to average a respectable 35.53 against the Kiwis, Shikhar Dhawan comes with a disclaimer at 24.57 which further dropped to 20.25 in the 2013/14 tour.
Rohit Sharma has been scoring runs for fun but Shikhar needs to put his foot down for this tour. How many will the opening duo score?
Ravindra Jadeja is not a certain starter for the first ODI while Mitchell Santner will be battling with Colin de Grandhomme for a spot in the XI. Vijay Shankar and Kedar Jadhav are the only indubitable inclusions for the game fulfilling the all-rounders’ spot.
Whilst a run-fest seems on the card, seven out of the eight ODIs in Mclean Park (since Jan 1, 2012) have seen a side being bowled out which reflects that there will be something for the bowlers as well.
Spinners are not recommended here but there will be two leggies on offer, Ish Sodhi and Yuzvendra Chahal.
Sodhi was impressive against Sri Lanka but might not be too fruitful against the Indian batsmen who have negotiated leg spinners better than any other side since World Cup 2015. This is the same reason why Chahal will have his task cut out against Williamson and Co. despite a match-winning spell against Australia.
Shami was India’s highest wicket-taker in the 2013/14 series and has found his wicket-taking form again making him a great pick. Bhuvi had a forgetful last tour but he is a changed bowler with loads of experience behind his back.
For New Zealand, Trent Boult has an average of 23.66 runs per wicket with a strike rate of 31.15 while bowling in the first 10 overs of an innings since last year which makes the Indian openers, especially Shikhar Dhawan susceptible to him.
Lockie Ferguson, an exponent of pace is another good option, but for that, you might have to sacrifice a quality batsman because of the credit issues.
Recommended XI for New Zealand vs India 1st ODI
Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli (vc), Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor (c), Tom Latham, Kedar Jadhav, Vijay Shankar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Shami, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult
Captain and Vice-Captain
Towards the later part of his career, Ross Taylor has struck the form of his life. He averaged 91.28 in 2018 that got him a spot in the ICC ODI team of the year and has already struck a hundred this year.
Taylor averaged 91.28 but Virat Kohli scored 133.55 runs per dismissal in ODI cricket last year that brought him the honour of ICC ODI Player of the Year 2018. Kane Williamson with his solidity with the bat is another strong contender.
FanFight Fantasy Team for New Zealand vs India 1st ODI
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