The way the last three games of the T20I series between New Zealand and India turned out, it was clear that there wasn’t much difference between the two teams even though all three results went in India’s favor.
That was reinforced in the first ODI as well, where New Zealand chased down 348 runs without breaking too much of a sweat.
India had their task cut out coming into the second ODI at Auckland against a confident Kiwi side. But much to the disappointment of their fans, the Men in Blue failed to cross the line and ended up losing the series with one game to go.
The third ODI is now a dead rubber, but it would still mean a lot to India as they wouldn’t want the series to end in a whitewash. They would also want to have a look at some of the players who haven’t had the opportunity to play in the series so far.
New Zealand would definitely be keen for a whitewash to avenge the misery they suffered at the hands of the visitors in the T20I series. The Kiwis didn’t bat too well in the second ODI in Auckland, but the way their second string bowling attack stepped up under testing circumstances against an immensely strong batting line-up, is a good sign for the management.
The hosts would now want to carry on the good work at the Bay Oval and finish the series on a high.
Date: 11 February 2020 (Tuesday)
Time: 07:30 AM (IST)
Venue: Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui
Mount Maunganui will be nice and sunny on Tuesday. The humidity will be high but the temperature in the evening will go down to around 16 degrees Celsius, which means the conditions won’t be too difficult for the players. It won’t be windy either, and there is definitely no chance of any rain.
The pitch at the Bay Oval, which was used for the fifth T20I, was a bit on the slower side; the ball was sticking into the surface a little. It was not easy to hit on the up, and the batsmen needed to play the ball late and straight.
The surface might be similar on Tuesday and if that's the case, the captain winning the toss would want to bat first for a change. The surface will continue getting slower and slower as the game goes on.
India: Given the fact that the series has been decided already, India might want to give their premier fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah a bit of a break as he has got a lot of bowling to do in the Test series as well. Bumrah might be replaced by Mohammed Shami, who was rested for the second ODI.
Although Kedar Jadhav has failed just once in the series so far, he might have to make way for Manish Pandey, who was pretty decent with the bat in the T20I series.
Predicted XI: Prithvi Shaw, Mayank Agarwal, Virat Kohli (c), Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (wk), Manish Pandey, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Navdeep Saini, Mohammed Shami, Yuzvendra Chahal
New Zealand: Kane Williamson was declared unfit for the first couple of games of the series. There has been no official word on his fitness from the New Zealand camp, but if he is fit, he will probably replace Tom Blundell in the XI.
The rest of the New Zealand XI should remain the same. The debutant Kyle Jamieson impressed one and all with his temperament and skills at Auckland and he will be persisted with - as will Mark Chapman, who didn’t have much to do with the ball in the second ODI.
Predicted XI: Martin Guptill, Henry Nicholls, Kane Williamson / Tom Blundell, Ross Taylor, Tom Latham (wk), James Neesham, Colin de Grandhomme, Mark Chapman, Tim Southee, Kyle Jamieson, Hamish Bennett
The Kiwis are high on confidence at the moment and they know their conditions pretty well. They have hit the right lengths with the ball for most parts of the first two games and have also got their tempo right with the bat.
Although India have competed well, the absence of a couple of their key players at the top might hurt them again. My prediction is for New Zealand to win the game and thus complete the 3-0 series whitewash.
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