About the Match
The ODI series has been set up brilliantly for the decider at Kanpur after both teams won one match convincingly. The second ODI at Pune was marred by controversy which ultimately did not affect the match but would have left a poor taste in the mouth of all involved. This will be the first time this season that India is playing an ODI decider at home. Will New Zealand be able to record a famous away victory or will the Indian team romp home in style?
An excellent performance in the second ODI showed that India had learned from its defeat in the first match. The bowlers came back with better plans and left the batsmen with few runs to get. It also helped that Dinesh Karthik scored some runs in the middle order to give this Indian batting a better-balanced look.
Now with a decider ahead of them in the third match, India will be hoping that all their disciplines can fire at the same time.
Beating India in India is not an easy task. South Africa was the last team that managed to do so in 2015 but New Zealand came close last year as well. India got a spin-friendly surface and unleashed their three spinners to help win the match but that is unlikely to happen this time around.
We have a feeling that this match will be a more traditional batting face-off between the two teams where some big runs will be scored. Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, and Virat Kohli are obviously the big three when it comes to India’s batting and the players most likely to get a big score.
Out of these three, only Rohit Sharma has yet to score some runs in this series and the final ODI could be the perfect opportunity for him. The last time India played here was against South Africa where Rohit Sharma scored a brilliant 150. Memories of those innings could spur him on in this game as well.
We are, however, more inclined to back Shikhar Dhawan to score some runs after a typically belligerent inning on a slow track in the last game. He is looking super fit since his return to the side and looks hungry for runs.
Virat Kohli can also never be counted out in a big match but it will be the ‘engine room’ of Karthik, Jadhav, Dhoni, and Pandya that will be most closely watched by keen watchers. This is the one area of Indian batting which is still not set in stone and some important decisions may have to be taken sooner than later.
We don’t think any change will be made to the bowling attack for this match led by Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, and Axar Patel. It seems a little hard on Kuldeep Yadav to be left out but Axar’s performance in the last match is certainly good enough o keep his spot.
The early wickets taken by Kumar and Bumrah are key to this side and rather than the spinners, we believe this match will be decided by how the New Zealand team faces up against the fast bowling duo of India.
The visitors caught India flat-footed in the first match but saw their strategy countered effectively in the second match. Now, this third and final match will pose an interesting question to New Zealand about sticking to their tactics or changing them up once again.
We think that the lack of runs from Guptill, Williamson, and Munro has hurt New Zealand which has then had to rely on middle order fightbacks. Ross Taylor, Tom Latham, and even Colin de Grandhomme showed excellent form which should be exciting to the visitors.
If two of the top-3 can get going then New Zealand will have an excellent chance of upsetting India in this match. We continue to think that the move up the order for Colin Munro is an excellent one. He has had some trouble facing up to Bhuvaneshwar Kumar’s skill but a little bit of time in the middle could change all that.
He is one batsman that can be even more destructive than Martin Guptill in this New Zealand lineup. We would ideally like both the openers to go hard at the Indian bowlers and make them change their lines early.
Kane Williamson is a class act and it is unlike him to have a series of soft dismissals in a row. This third match could be the opportunity for him to come to the party as well, particularly if New Zealand loses its openers early.
The onus of stopping the Indian batting will once again fall on Trent Boult and Tim Southee. Neither of them has got anything from the pitch in this series and the same can be expected for the last match. They will have to depend on pace in the air, cutters, change of pace, and other tricks to get the batsmen out.
Mitchell Santner is very economical without being threatening, Adam Milne has some extra pace at his disposal but the fifth bowler combine of Munro and de Grandhomme is a little underwhelming. We think that could become a big problem for New Zealand on a high scoring pitch.
Taking everything into consideration, it is clear that New Zealand has the tools to win this match and the series with it but just needs its best batsmen to fire.
Pitch and Conditions
The last match Kanpur saw just over 600 runs be scored and the spectators would be hoping for a similar track this time around. The ODI matches in Indian have gone from being absolute run fests to grinds for the batsmen and maybe a flat batting deck would be a good changeup.
There is next to no chance of rain predicted although the temperatures will be high enough to keep the players sweating at all times.
India to wi