With new Zealand clinching the fourth ODI against India at Ranchi on Wednesday by 19 runs, the series will be decided in the fifth and final match of the series to be played at Vizag on Saturday. Despite the drubbing in the Test series, Kane Williamson’s side have shown tremendous resolve to equalise the ODI series at 2-2, especially clawing their way back after losses in the first and third ODI and will be aiming to upset the Indian faithful who will be eager to add the ODI trophy as well to the success in the longer format.
Like the four ODIs so far, the Vizag ODI will also be a day-night affair and it will be interesting to see the decision taken at the toss as the hosts have won two games and lost twice in the games so far – all of which where they have batted second. While it was the Indian bowlers that set up the victory in the series opener at Dharamsala, it was the brilliance of Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni that helped India chase down a target of 286 with considerable ease at Mohali.
The visitors have however refused to accept defeat easily and came back strongly after the two defeats to edge out the Men in Blue in two tightly-contested matches. The Indian tail wagged on both occasions but Williamson and his men kept their cool to silence the home crowd and take the series into the decider.
The inability of the batsmen from both sides to convert their starts into big totals have been a huge contributor to the absence of 300-plus scores in the series which the Indian crowds have been accustomed to over the past few years. Martin Guptill finally hit form in the series at Ranchi and the home fans will be hopeful that Rohit Sharma finally strikes gold after his string of low scores so far.
The spinners have been impressive despite the dew factor and one can expect much of the same on Saturday as well. The players will be under immense pressure to get their act right in the decider with the toss no doubt going to be crucial in deciding how the team compositions pan out.
Venue: Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium, Visakhapatnam
Date: 29 October 2016 (Saturday)
Time: 08:00 GMT / 13:30 IST
Broadcast: Star Sports 1, Star Sports HD 1 in English / Star Sports 3, Star Sports HD 3 in Hindi
Online Stream: www.starsports.com
New Zealand: W-L-W-L-W
The form of opening batsman Rohit Sharma has been a big worry for the home side with too much burden being placed upon the shoulders of Kohli and Dhoni. Rahane has been good in patches but the lack of experience lower down the order has been exposed many a time in the series thus laying more onus on the experienced players at the top.
Amit Mishra has been exceptional with the ball for India and could have even won the match with the bat at Ranchi before a terrible mix-up with fellow spinner Axar Patel brought an end to his resilient fight. The pacers have swayed from being brilliant to erratic at times thus not helping MS Dhoni’s cause as a skipper.
All-rounders Hardik Pandya and Kedhar Jadhav are crucial to India’s chances under the present scenario and both have done pretty well considering the responsibilities handed over to them. The lack of experience has shown at times but the Indian team management will be hopeful that they will help the home side clinch the series in their favour.
The visitors will be buoyed by the return to form of opener Martin Guptill who played a match-winning role at Ranchi to take the series into the decider. Getting starts have not been a concern for their batsmen but the failure to convert them into big totals will be something the team management hopes to address on Saturday.
The bowling unit has done well as a unit with both the spin bowlers and fast bowlers doing their job to perfection. Williamson would have been particularly impressed by how his new-ball pairing of Trent Boult and Tim Southee performed in the fourth ODI and will be hoping for more of the same come Saturday.
India probable XI:
Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli, Manish Pandey, MS Dhoni (C) (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Amit Mishra, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav
New Zealand probable XI:
Martin Guptill, Tom Latham, Kane Williamson (C), Ross Taylor, James Neesham, BJ Watling (wk), Anton Devchich, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Trent Boult.
The Dr. YS Rajasekhara Reddy Stadium at Vishakappattanam has been a happy hunting ground for Team India having won all but one of their five ODIs and their one and only T20I at the venue. The defeat came in their previous ODI at Vizag held in 2013 against the West Indies but the hosts will be hopeful of a different result when they take the field on Saturday.
The pitch had been a topic of much debate before the series commenced but the dust has settled down for now. It will be interesting though how the newly laid pitch behaves for the decider with incessant rains proving to a be a dampener to how the surface should have settled down by now. Rumours of a cyclone doing the rounds will also make things interesting though cricket lovers will be hopeful that the match goes through without any interruptions.