Ravindra Jadeja’s efforts with the bat in the third ODI would have given India more belief heading into the final two matches against New Zealand © Getty Images
By Abhijit Banare
Jan 27, 2014
It’s no mean task to be referred as a ‘Sir’ in your early 20s and then living up to it with perfection. While the previews across media before the third One-Day International (ODI) against New Zealand discussed about India‘s chances of winning or losing the must-win encounter, Ravindra Jadeja thought it apt to give his own angle to the series by ending it in a tie — only the seventh one for India. The 45-ball 66 will give Jadeja the much-needed boost when he comes in to bat again. MS Dhoni would take some positives that other than himself and Virat Kohli, at least there’s someone else who can last reasonably longer.
All the previous three matches could have been in India’s pocket if they hadn’t squandered opportunities which kept coming at them frequently. Each time they put up an inspirational fight to chase the score. They lost the first two ODIs, then tied the third and don’t be surprised if Dhoni further goes down the same line to chase yet again.
Critics have brandished their knives towards the skipper for being stubborn time and again. But Dhoni who loves going by his ‘cool’ instinct seems assured that, chasing is their best chance to win considering that the bowling fortunes are much tougher to change than the batting ones.
For the nth time in-a-row, Indian bowlers have continued their quest for conceding close to or over 300 runs. But there were some noticeable changes in their performance. The spinners played their role by restricting the batsmen and taking more burdens at the start (post batting powerplay). At the same time, India have for long struggled to find a better third seamer. Ishant Sharma has gone for good, Varun Aaron had pace but was ineffective. Dhoni has a chance to opt for Ishwar Pandey, yet considering his stubbornness to make swift changes, Aaron might get another opportunity.
For New Zealand, Martin Guptill‘s form would be a huge relief. Guptill had tied himself down in his own web playing tentatively at the start. His century in the previous match might give New Zealand a much assured start as Jesse Ryder continues with his habit of smashing and perishing early. The bowlers have been very much in control led by the Midas touch of Corey Anderson who has made his presence felt in all three matches. At the same time, the others too have discharged their responsibilities with high distinction. More than tackling the pacers, India will be hungry to take on the spinners who have managed to slow them down when they needed exactly the opposite.
India can feel comfortable going into this match not just due to their performance in the previous ODI, but also that they have played at Hamilton only a few days back and have a fair idea of what to expect and especially how to bowl.
Ironically New Zealand and India would be banking on batting and bowling first respectively to secure what they want. Yet at the end of the day, it’s the Indians who will be walking in with a few pounds of burden in the must-win encounter. Anything less than a win and the series would be lost for Dhoni’s team.
And yes, the see-saw battle for the top ODI slot will continue with an Indian victory yet again changing the equation.
New Zealand (probable): Jesse Ryder, Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Corey Anderson, Brendon McCullum (c), Luke Ronchi (wk), Nathan McCullum, Tim Southee, Hamish Bennett, Mitchell McClenaghan.
India (probable): Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Varun Aaron.
Time: 06:30 IST |01:00 GMT
(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on Twitter and blog)