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India vs New Zealand ODI series: 5 biggest factors that will decide the outcome

ANALYST
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Modified 03 Feb 2020, 16:23 IST

This will be New Zealand
This will be New Zealand's first ODI series since the World Cup

With the exciting T20I series done and dusted, India’s tour of New Zealand now moves on to its next stage – the one-day international series. Unlike the T20s, there will be just three ODIs between the two teams.

This series gains additional importance due to it being the first encounter between the two sides since the World Cup semi-final which the Kiwis won. This is also the first time the home side would be playing in this format since the World Cup final which remains a very painful memory for them.

So, what can we expect in this contest? The Indian team played a five-match series last year as well in New Zealand and they won it easily 4-1. However, in 2014, they lost a series of similar duration 4-0. So, the visitors have a mixed record playing there.

In these matches, New Zealand would definitely be underdogs due to the absence of their front-line pace attack. Trent Boult, Matt Henry and Lockie Ferguson are all missing due to injuries. Against a formidable Indian line-up, their absence could be fatal for the Kiwis’ chances in this rubber.

Still, there are other factors that will come into play to decide the result of this contest. Here, we look at the five most important. 

Form of Taylor and Williamson

Taylor and Williamson are the spine of New Zealand
Taylor and Williamson are the spine of New Zealand's batting

When New Zealand nearly whitewashed India in the 2014 series, the two leading stars of the contest were Kane Williamson – who got half-centuries in all five matches – and Ross Taylor – who scored hundreds in two of the games. Their performance would again be the biggest factor in deciding whether New Zealand perform well or not.

Also see – ICC Women’s T20 world cup schedule

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Even in the World Cup semi-final, though both these stalwarts weren’t able to score big runs, they notched up important half-centuries. Williamson at no. 3 will control the innings, if he stays in, while Taylor can do a similar job at no. 4 apart from providing the much-needed fireworks late in the innings.

Together, these two players form the spine of the Kiwi batting line-up. Take them out and the team becomes listless. Yes, there are other talented batsmen such as Martin Guptill and Tom Latham, but it’s very rare that their team wins without a substantial contribution from either of the two great men. Stopping them would be Indian bowling attack’s priority.

If Williamson and Taylor both fire, New Zealand can easily get a score of over 300. Despite the weakness of their bowling, that would be a score they will fancy defending. 

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Published 02 Feb 2020, 22:59 IST
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