It’s honors even in this ODI series at one apiece, and so the pressure will intensify during this all-important third rubber in Mohali.
So who will come out on top and take command of the series on Sunday?
Absolute domination has been the theme for India
ever since they welcomed the New Zealand touring party to their shores. A 3-0 test series triumph was backed by a formidable six-wicket win in the first ODI – a veritable walk in the park chasing down 190 with more than a century of balls left. The possibility of another series whitewash was in the offing, surely?
It would be foolish to write off the World Cup runners-up, of course, and so they proved in the second ODI in Delhi. Their batsmen were again below par as a unit, but luckily for them Kane Williamson announce his arrival rather belatedly on Indian soil with a stunning century. His 118 contributed almost 50% of the Kiwis’ total of 242-9; perhaps a below-par total, or so it seemed at halfway.
The returning Matt Henry and Trent Boult bowled with great control – the latter in particular for his return of 2-25 from ten, and Tim Southee picked up three wickets at key times to dispose of Ajinkya Rahane and MS Dhoni as they started to hit their stride and of course his skittling of Jasprit Bumrah to end the contest. The Indians were six runs short with three balls to spare.
Sunday’s third ODI will be played at Mohali; a ground that is renowned for delivering fast and pacey tracks. That should offer further hope to the Kiwis, whose three seamers were excellent in Delhi and the spin craft of Amit Mishra, with six wickets in his last two starts, will be negated somewhat too.
But most of India’s batsmen got starts in the second ODI – four scored 25 plus – and one who didn’t, Virat Kohli, rarely goes long without going big. It’s quite possible that they will outscore the Kiwis here, so backing the India win at 2/5 with bet365 is sensible.
This has not been a series where the batsmen have covered themselves in glory so far, with only three half-centuries in four combined innings and no team tally over 250.
So it is individuals that are making their mark, and two of the finest exponents of the short ball game – Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson – are in town.
Both have delivered with what have proven to be match-winning knocks already, with Williamson’s ton matched by Kohli’s 85 not out in the first fixture, and we’re more than happy to back them as their respective teams’ Top Batsmen at 5/2 (Kohli) and 13/5 (Williamson) with Betway.
This Mohali deck is rather a-typical for a sub-continent track, which will lessen the impact of India’s tweakers. Luckily, they have a more than adequate seam attack headlined by the dynamic Umesh Yadav, who in his last three starts has dismissed Williamson, Ross Taylor and Martin Guptill; not a bad collection of scalps. He is 3/1 with bet365 to be India’s Top Bowler on a wicket that will surely suit his style.
New Zealand rested Trent Boult for the first ODI, and my how they welcomed back in Delhi. His return of 2-25 was outstanding and the platform upon which the Kiwis’ victory was built. The fact that 43 of the 60 deliveries he bowled were dots is indicative of his control, and we’re happy to take him as New Zealand’s Top Bowler here at 10/3 with Betway.