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Auckland: Jan 24, 2014
“The pitch does offer a bit of pace and bounce, but generally it is a pretty good batting surface. With the small boundaries, it is a bit daunting for the bowlers but in the last couple of games it has managed to swing around a little bit. It does generally swing in here. So, hopefully we can make the most of that,” said Southee at the pre-match press conference.
“If there is a little bit of pace in the wicket, short bowling will be an option. The square boundaries are a bit bigger and it will come into play as strategy. We have plans in place for each of their batsmen. The plans had worked well in the first game,” he added.
India lost that first ODI at Napier by 24 runs, with four top-order batsmen falling to the pull shot. In the second ODI at Hamilton, the visitors again fell short by 15 runs (D/L method) to go down 0-2 in the five-match series.
They have already lost the number one ODI ranking and another defeat will mean a second consecutive series loss overseas, after 0-2 in South Africa.
“It has been a good start to the series so far. We have played two pretty good games. It is important we do not get too far ahead of ourselves and take each game as it comes. We know they are a good side and have been number one in the world for a while. They will be disappointed with the first two games. They are too good a side to roll over.
“We know we have to be at our best to beat this side and hopefully we can do that tomorrow,” Southee said.
In two matches so far, India have opted to bowl first but ended up falling short in the run-chase on both occasions.
Eden Park is a small ground with varied boundary angles and the toss could play a vital role on Saturday.
“No, I don’t think India are at a disadvantage by opting to chase. Grounds in New Zealand are small and chasing is the preferred option for a lot of sides, knowing you can chase down any score with the size of these small grounds,” opined Southee.
Southee, however, admitted that the Kiwi bowlers have so far failed to contain Virat Kohli.
“The Indian batsmen are all good players but Virat Kohli has been in great touch and has shown his class for a period now in international cricket. I don’t think we have bowled particularly well to him. Once he gets going, he’s shown that he is pretty hard to stop. He is in great nick and our job is to get him as early as possible,” he said.
New Zealand have done well enough in the last year to beat England and South Africa, while earning draws against Sri Lanka and West Indies. Despite the reversal against Bangladesh, this has been a team on the up and it will be a huge shot in the arm if they manage to beat India as well.
“We have always been competitive in limited-overs cricket. We have shown we can beat anyone on our day. It is the consistency we are starting to show. We are not where we want to be. We are starting to get there. Good sides win series consistently and that is where we want to get. We are playing an aggressive, attacking style of cricket. That is the approach Brendon McCullum (captain) and Mike Hesson (coach) have brought to this side,” revealed Southee.
“We have worked very well together and it is showing that we can go out there and play our natural game freely. We are a naturally exciting batting line-up and have got ball strikers all the way down. If we go out there and put the runs on the board as we have, it will allow the bowlers to be aggressive all the way through the innings,” he said.
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