Venue: Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui
Date: Tuesday, February 11, 2020
This tour has been a tale of the differences between two match formats for India in New Zealand to this point. The tour began with a T20I series over the course of five matches, all of which India won. This was a more dramatic and tighter series than the whitewash might suggest, with India coming through matches three and four with wins in the Super Over.
India was then expected to push that momentum forward and control the three ODIs that were next on the tour calendar. This is not how things have gone, however, with the hosts picking up wins in both Hamilton and Auckland, winning the series before this match at Mount Maunganui. This is still an important part of the tour though as there are a pair of Test matches still to play before India heads back to the sub-continent.
The first ODI saw New Zealand win the toss and elect to field. India put up a monstrous 274/4 from 50 overs, a score that New Zealand had never chased down before The Black Caps were brilliant with the bat, however, reaching 348/6 from 48.1 overs. Ross Taylor was 109 not out from 84 balls to win Man of the Match honors.
The second ODI was a little more uneventful. India won the toss and elected to field this time, with Yuzvendra Chahai claiming figures of 3/58 as New Zealand made a steady 273/8 from 50 overs. The reply never really got on track, with the visitors being bowled out for 251 in 48.3 overs. This secured a 22 run victory for the hosts.
The Black Caps will still be without top-line bowlers Trent Boult and Matt Henry as they look to complete a clean sweep of India in this match format. The World Cup finalists will have talismanic skipper Kane Williamson back in the lineup after he passed a fitness test on a shoulder problem that has kept him out of the side. The Black Caps will look for their top-order to continue to be their strength in this series and will be buoyed by the fact they have won matches both batting first and when running down a total from behind.
The big issue for India has been that they are missing a large chunk of their batting strength without Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan in the lineup because of injuries. This has meant that Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwai have been opening the batting and they simply haven’t been consistent enough, despite flashing signs of brilliance here and there. Add in a surprisingly low scoring series for Virak Kohli and it is easy to see how India sunk to a pair of defeats in their opening two games.
The Indians are favoured here in large part because history suggests they will win this game. The visitors can be had for 0.65 to win at BetXChange if you think they will be able to avoid their first series whitewash since 1989. We like the underdogs here though as New Zealand seems to have picked up the pace since the T20Is while India has fallen away in a surprising manner. The 1.30 price on a New Zealand team that has won two in a row AND that gets its star player back seems like a worthwhile price.