New Zealand have displayed resilience and fighting power to keep the series alive. What has hassled the Indians most is the swing and angle of Trent Boult. Indians too have displayed why they are such a force in home conditions.
On Sunday, Kane Williamson’s New Zealand will get a chance to emulate what South Africa did two years ago – beat India in India in an ODI series. Last year, the Kiwis had stretched the home side to the hilt, only to lose the decider in Vishakapatnam and go down 2-3. They will get a chance to better that effort at Green Park stadium in the deciding ODI.
Before the start of the series, Williamson had said that it was a “big task” to beat India in their own backyard. The visitors have displayed resilience and fighting power to keep the three-match series alive till the decider, even though they could not make a match of it in the second ODI in Pune.
The move to play Tom Latham down the order worked well in Mumbai as the left-hander forced the Indian wrist spinners to change their length.
New Zealand also have competent batsmen up the order in Martin Guptill, Colin Munro and Kane Williamson who can change a game with their bold approach.
What has hassled the Indians most, however, is the swing and angle of Trent Boult. The left-arm seamer, along with new-ball partner Tim Southee, has looked effective even on these batting-friendly wickets. The accuracy and guile of left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner has also helped in caging the Indian batsmen.
On the other hand, the Indians too have displayed why they are such a force in home conditions. They tackled the pressure game in Pune with confidence and have the balance to tilt the scales in their favour on Sunday. In Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli, they have some feared willow-wielders.
The rise of Hardik Pandya as an allrounder has provided the side with options. Pandya, along with Dhoni, gives the side solidity both while setting up targets and chasing scores.
The new-ball attack led by Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been a revelation. They have consistently troubled the best, while the spinners – Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel and Kuldeep Yadav -bring a lot of variety. Yadav didn’t play the second game and fans hope the local lad will get to play here, though whether Kohli will choose to change a winning combination remains to be seen. For the Indians, it was an optional practice session and captain Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya were among the five team members who decided to skip practice.