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New Zealand vs India - Always a promising series

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354   //    22 Jan 2019, 20:17 IST

Kane Williamson and Virat Kohli
Kane Williamson and Virat Kohli

If you are waiting for an exciting ODI series, the New Zealand-India series has got to be the one. Historically, most of the India - New Zealand ODI series have been as close as any. The previous two series between these two sides which were played in India demonstrate this fact. India managed to win both the series by a margin of 3-2 and 2-1 respectively.

But, this time India won't be having the home advantage. The Kiwis have been on a roll at home. The only exception being when England managed to beat New Zealand 3-2.

India has been one of the most consistent teams in one-day international cricket since the 2015 ICC cricket World Cup. New Zealand, on the other hand, is not far behind as well. They are the number 3 ranked side in the world just behind India. The recent success of both these teams in the limited-overs format can be attributed to the fact that both have depth in their squads. This gives the captain the luxury to always put up a balanced eleven on the field according to the conditions. Both sides boast off strong batting lineups. So, it is expected to be a high-scoring series. 

New Zealand is a very experienced side and has beaten Sri Lanka 3-0 before the start of this series. They would definitely be a tougher opponent than Australia for the Indians. The Kiwis have selected a full-strength squad for the series with only Jimmy Neesham missing out due to injury.

Since the 2015 World Cup, the Kiwis have had an impressive run in ODI cricket. At home, they have won 8 ODI series and lost just two across four years. Ross Taylor has rediscovered himself and is in the form of his life. He is the second best batsman since World cup, scoring 2580 runs at an average of 69.72 just behind Virat Kohli. 137, 90, 54, 86*, 80 and 181*, these are the last six innings of Ross Taylor.

Kane Williamson is another man to watch out for. He had scored five consecutive fifties against India in 2014 in the five-match series and was instrumental in winning the series for the black caps. He wouldn't mind repeating the feat at all as he has always enjoyed batting against the Indians.

Ross Taylor in scintillating form
Ross Taylor in scintillating form

The last time India toured New Zealand in 2014, they were beaten 4-0 by the home side. But that was five years ago, and India has a much more experienced batting order compared to 2014. Winning their first-ever bilateral series in Australia might serve as the perfect motivation for the Men in Blue. India is one of the favorites to win the World Cup this year.

The Indian skipper who has just become the first cricketer in history to win all three awards in a single year, the ICC ODI Cricketer of the Year, ICC Test Cricketer of the year and ICC Cricketer of the Year is on a dream run of form. He was also named the captain of both the ICC Test and ODI teams of the Year.

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Since the 2015 World Cup, he has scored 3848 runs at a mind-boggling average of 81.87 and is well on his way to be regarded as one of the greatest players to play this sport. Rohit Sharma would also like to continue his amazing run as he has a poor record against the black caps. The Indian side would love to win this series as they have managed to win an ODI series in New Zealand only once, back in 2009

Virat Kohli celebrating his 39th ODI hundred
Virat Kohli
celebrating
his 39th ODI hundred

India will miss the services of the number one ODI bowler, Jasprit Bumrah as he has been rested. In the absence of Bumrah and Pandya, whose investigation is pending, India doesn't have a settled bowling unit. It will be interesting to see if the wrist spin duo of Kuldeep and Chahal get to play together. With Jadeja playing the all-rounder role in the side, it is unlikely that we'll see three spinners in the eleven.

Rohit Sharma would like to improve his numbers against New Zealand
Rohit Sharma would like to improve his numbers against New Zealand

Both teams are aware of their strengths and have most of their bases covered. This series will be ideal to figure out the perfect combination for both the camps going into the World Cup.

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