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|Colin de Grandhomme||10.0||2||26||3||2.60|
With yet another win against the Kiwis in the ongoing series, India have now registered three series victories in ODIs outside Asia in last one year. The three ODIs gone so far have been rather anti-climatic. With no Virat Kohli in the remaining two matches and Indians likely to test their bench strength, the contest between the two sides is expected to be closer than it was in the earlier three matches. The fourth ODI of the series is set to take place at Seddon Park, Hamilton on 31st January. Just like India, New Zealand, too, have chopped and shuffled their squad by excluding a couple of their players. It's been rather uncharacteristic of New Zealand to go down without putting up a fight and we expect the upcoming contests between the two sides to be a lot closer than they have been in the series so far.
As a measure to address the issues they're going through, the Kiwis have called-up James Neesham and Todd Astle to replace Doug Bracewell and Ish Sodhi respectively. Before the series started, New Zealand were perceived as stronger opponents as compared to Australia was in the recently concluded series, but the same hasn't reflected on the field. If anything, they have only disappointed.
The major disappointed will be because of expectations they were carrying. Ever since the 2015 World Cup, New Zealand had been difficult to defeat at home. Out of ten series played at home, the Kiwis lost only two - one to England and another one to South Africa. Their win-loss ratio at home prior to this series was 27-8 which is way better than India's 18-10.
Despite some hard numbers to back them, the Kiwis couldn't really express themselves in the series so far. The only apparent difference was the quality of spin they faced in this series versus the ones they played earlier. The pressure of playing spin in the middle overs pushed Guptill and Munro to score quicker at the top which led to their downfall.
Barring Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor, none of the Kiwi batsmen has looked comfortable against the potent bowling attack of India. Ross Taylor handled spin beautifully in the third ODI, but no other batsman failed to stay with him as they collapsed for 243. It has been the same for them in all of the three games.
Going into the next game, the Kiwis can take solace from the way they were able to negate Indian spinners' threat in the last match. Ross Taylor contributed with a remarkable knock of 93 and stitched together a useful partnership with Tom Latham. Kane Williamson has already been doing good for them and will be looking to score big on Thursday.
All in all, Although New Zealand have improved with every passing game, the improvement they've shown hasn't really been enough. Their bowling has done reasonably well in restricting Indians to chase-able totals on batting beauties. Their batting, however, has a lot of room to improve. The inclusion of Jimmy Neesham, who was brutal against Sri Lanka in the previous series, is likely to add to their strength. The Kiwis haven't lost three consecutive home games since 2013, and we expect them to come hard in the upcoming ODI.
Martin Guptill, Henry Nicholls, KS Williamson, Ross Taylor, TWM Latham, James Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Colin de Grandhomme, TD Astle, Matt Henry, TA Boult.
After a relatively close series against Australia, India have clearly stepped it up with World Cup not too far away. However, the management has decided to rest Virat Kohli and Shubham Gill is likely to come into the side and bat at number three. MS Dhoni missed the third ODI due to a slight niggle in his hamstring and he is likely to make his way back into the side.
Clearly, the only dilemma which has troubled Indians is the number four conundrum. It's been a long time and many permutations and combinations, but India is yet to zero in on their number four for the World Cup. Although Ambati Rayudu has scored well, his record against England, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa hasn't been that good. On the other hand, MS Dhoni has played some useful hands in stabilizing the innings more often than not and we might see MS Dhoni move up to number four.
Another likely change which India could be making is resting Mohammad Shami for the next two ODIs. Shami has been bowling continuously ever since the first test in Australia and it will only be sensible if management decides to rest him. If it happens, it will be Mohammad Siraj taking his place.
In recent times, India have struggled to shift gears in the final few overs and the same was noticeable in the second ODI of the series as well. Despite a terrific platform set by Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, Indians could score only 324. At one stage, they looked all set to exceed the 350-run mark, but a rather uneventful knock from Ambati Rayudu happened to make a difference of at least 10-15 runs.
Indian batting looks to be in the groove at the moment and although Virat Kohli's absence could make a difference, it is highly unlikely that it will considering the form the other batsmen have been in. The only void that is going to be felt is only if Mohammad Shami is rested. While Mohammad Shami has been India's pick of the bowlers in the recent times, his namesake Siraj has only conceded runs. The role of Hardik Pandya will become ever more important, in case, India feels the absence of experience with the ball in the middle of the match.
Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Shubman Gill, Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, YS Chahal, Khaleel Ahmed.
In recent times, the teams have more often than not preferred to chase in ODI cricket. The statistics of the matches played at Hamilton also favor the decision and we think that the captain winning the toss will have no hesitation in electing to bowl first after winning the toss.
Read our guide on toss predictions to learn how we analyze and come up with our tips.
The Seddon Park is one of the few rare grounds in New Zealand where scoring totals in excess of 300s is a rare sight. In the last few matches, the teams have struggled to surpass the 300-run mark often ending up around 280. Overall, the average score batting first at this venue is 243. It, however, has been higher in the recent matches. The surface is known to favor the team batting second as only on 11 occasions out of a total of 33 has the team batting first emerged on top. It's forecasted to be partly cloudy on Thursday with 10% chances of precipitation. With stars skewed in favor of the team chasing, the team batting first will be looking to put up at least a total of 300 runs on the board.
Although the series is already lost, the series is of mighty importance for New Zealand. The recent losses has exposed their various vulnerabilities and they'd like to get it all sorted before the main ICC event. India have more or less have that sorted and we are likely to see a bit of experimentation from them at Hamilton. New Zealand have shown plenty of signs of improvement in the series and with India's lead bowler likely to be rested, their opening batsmen will have a better chance. Indian middle-order appears to be a little unstable without Virat Kohli batting at number three. We think that Kane Williamson and his men will finally get it right against a potentially lesser-potent Indian side and register a win in the upcoming dead-rubber contest.
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