Team India has been in a glorious form of late, as they have been winning series after series, regardless of the format. Having drubbed Australia recently in the ODIs, they now switch attention towards the visiting New Zealand ahead of the first of the three-ODI series at Wankhede Satdium in Mumbai on Sunday. It is certainly wise to say that both teams have a tough and competitive men. However, with India being in tremendous form, the momentum is ought to be in their favour. Nevertheless, it would come as no surprise if New Zealand pull off something extraordinary in this series. Let us have a look at the key battles we can expect in the opening tie. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: India vs New Zealand 2017-18, 1st ODI at Mumbai
Bhuvneshwar Kumar vs Martin Guptill: Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been in an ominous form of late. His sheer ability to swing the ball in any condition and claim wickets consistently has made him one of the most celebrated stars of the side. Although he did not finish as the most wicket-taker against Australia, he had the best bowling average of 25. However, it would be Martin Guptill who may pose a challenge to him. Guptill can play some quality cricket in any tough condition, and has the knack of reading the ball. Therefore, both these men can put up a strong competition, and it would be interesting to watch their battle.
Rohit Sharma vs Trent Boult: Rohit Sharma finished as the highest run-getter against the Aussies, and will be backing himself to do so again. Having hit double-ton twice, he is certainly one of the most dangerous batsmen in Indian cricket today. However, things might not go as smooth as we believe as he is all set to face stern competition from fast bowler Trent Boult
Boult has been highly impressive for New Zealand of late owing to his sheer fast bowling and wicket-taking ability. His stint in the IPL recently with Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) too turned out to be fruitful as he looks to make an impact in this series. Mind you, Rohit has a problem facing southpaws. Spin, bounce, runs, thrill, and more on offer at Wankhede Stadium
Earlier before the series, Rohit had also said that it would be a challenge to face Boult. “For us as batters it will be a huge challenge to face a left-arm seamer and come good. Boult, being one of their prime left arm fast bowlers, it gives us a challenge,” said Rohit. Therefore, there is a high possibility that Boult would accept his challenge and it could prove to be a tough contest between the two.
Kuldeep Yadav vs Ross Taylor: India’s chinaman spinner Kuldeep Yadav has been making headline of late, while he continues to get stronger with each passing game. He finished as the highest wicket-taker against Australia, with seven scalps, which included a hat-trick as well. It would be of no surprise if Kuldeep manages to repeat the same heroics again. However, Ross Taylor is one such man who can prove to be strong enough to provide some competition to him. He is good against playing spin and did fairly good in the warm-up tie against Board President’s XI, scoring a century. Therefore, these two men are certainly set to go at each other and indeed one of the tough battles on the cards. In Pictures: Virat Kohli’s journey to 200th ODI
Virat Kohli vs Tim Southee: When it comes to any topic on Indian cricket, skipper Virat Kohli is one such man who cannot be left out of the equation. Similarly, in this tie, he has to be on the list. However, it is needless to describe anything about him. Although he scored 180 runs against Australia, he would aim to do better than that in this series and finish somewhere around 300, as he was a bit shaky against the Aussies. Nevertheless, things won’t be easy against the Kiwis either as among the tough bowling side, Tim Southee is the one who can provide him tough contest with the ball. He has had a good record with the ball in India, and considering Kohli’s shaky form of late, Southee could try to utilise full opportunity of it. On the other hand, it would rub salt on the wound if Southee also decides to go ablaze with the bat. On numerous instances, Southee has proved his worth with the bat, including the series he played last year. Therefore, although a bowler, Kohli should give him the respect of an all-rounder as certainly it is going to be a scuffle between the two.
Hardik Pandya vs Mitchell Santner: Last, but not the least, all-rounder Hardik Pandya just cannot be left out of the list. He too is one of the men making headlines of late because of his hard-hitting abilities. Pandya hits clean most of the times when he decides to go after the bowlers, especially the spinners. Therefore, speaking about the spinners, Mitchell Santner is currently one of the top spinners in the New Zealand side for now, and would be of no surprise if Pandya targets him. Pandya did target Australia’s Adam Zampa on most of the occasions and cleaned the park mostly with his big hits. Therefore, Santner must do a proper and thorough homework before he decides to bowl Pandya.
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