About the Match
New Zealand continued to prove that they are among the sides that best acclimatize to Indian conditions and give the home team a stiff challenge. A 1-0 lead is something that no touring side has enjoyed in India this season and it will definitely put pressure on Kohli and his boys. We expect India to hit back hard but New Zealand has shown that it is here to win and not just make up the numbers.
A lot of the match went down a familiar route for Indian fans. A left-arm seamer got the better of the Indian top order, which was then revived by Virat Kohli and some useful contributions from the middle order.
Kohli, in fact, scored one of the tougher centuries of his career so far as he combated the searing heat, humidity, and a pitch that was difficult to score runs off. His 31st
hundred was laced by boundaries and a couple of sixes but depended upon singles and doubles for the most part.
A lot of scrutiny will go on the middle order of this Indian batting lineup. Manish Pandey was dropped for Dinesh Karthik, a move that can be considered harsh, Kedar Jadhav moved up to 4, and MS Dhoni at 6.
Not a single player of these three seems to be a threat to the opposition right now. MS Dhoni must be under the pump as he continues to play a strange sort of game in ODI’s where he is unwilling or unable to attack and takes plenty of time to start rotating the strike as well.
Kedar Jadhav looks to be batting at least a couple of places too high at 4 and Dinesh Karthik has disappointed in his previous international outings. We would much rather see Karthik take the place of Dhoni and bat at 4, Manish Pandey back at 5 and Jadhav at 6 for the time being but that is highly unlikely to happen.
This Indian batting is vulnerable to collapses if a couple of early wickets fall and that is something New Zealand will look to exploit.
A total of 280 odd should have been difficult to chase but for a change, the Indian bowling was unable to step up to the task. Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav, and Hardik Pandya took an early wicket each to have New Zealand in some strife but the spinners failed to exert any sort of pressure in the middle overs.
It was a tough outing for Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav which will increase the pressure on their future bowling performances since Ashwin and Jadeja are waiting in the wings. We think that Chahal and Yadav should be able to make the necessary adjustments and strike back in the games to follow.
This loss has given India plenty to think about.
There was a lot of buzz surrounding New Zealand before they landed in India. They seemed to have picked a well-balanced squad which covered most bases and had shown to be able to combat the Indian conditions very well in the past.
The fact that their victory came without any notable contribution from Kane Williamson or Martin Guptill must leave them thrilled as well. A look at their batting combination proves that they have the capability to set up big scores for India or chase them down with ease.
Guptill and Munro at the top of the order are very dangerous. In fact, we think that Munro will definitely score some big runs on this tour which could be an absolute exhibition in clean big hitting. Guptill has not always had the best time in India but he remains an ever-present threat.
Kane Williamson is a prolific run-scorer in ODI cricket and is rated as among the best batsmen in the world. This top-3 followed by an in-form Ross Taylor and Tom Latham makes for a very impressive batting lineup that can easily provide their bowling lineup the needed buffer in these conditions.
New Zealand’s bowling was very effective in the first ODI as well led by four wickets from Trent Boult. Mitchell Santner kept the runs down, Colin Munro chipped in with 7 useful overs and Southee picked 3 wickets too, although he went for some runs.
Only de Grandhomme struggled in the heat but that should become less of a problem as New Zealand gets accustomed to the conditions. There is plenty of big hitting ability in this New Zealand side across the batting lineup and that is something that makes them dangerous no matter what the situation is.
New Zealand must know that the Indians will come back hard at them in this crucial encounter, a 1-1 scoreline will make India favorites once again but a 2-0 scoreline can be very difficult to come back from.
Pitch and Conditions
Pune is one of the larger grounds that these teams will play on and that could make things easier for the spinners somewhat. The pitch is traditionally low, slow and, aids spin although the last season of the IPL saw some excellent scores being made their regularly.
The last ODI played there was between India and England where the visitors scored 350 and still ended up on the losing side.
What kind of pitch will Pune provide this time around? The Indians will definitely be hoping for the traditional one.
We are backing India to come back strong into this series although the New Zealand team will try their best to keep a stranglehold on this series. A close and exciting match looks likely.
Back India to win.