Kanpur gears up for decider

Plot:

You can’t ask for anything better; the series is leveled at 1-1 and the final ODI between India and New Zealand is going to be a decider. Team India turned the tables around after their loss in the first ODI, with a convincing victory in the second game in Pune. Virat Kohli’s men displayed a fine all-round performance and the hosts were simply too good for the Kiwis. However, we can’t write the Kiwis off that easily.

Skipper Kane Williamson won the toss and opted to bat first yet again but his side failed to post a strong total on the board. The Indian bowlers kept it tight throughout and the Kiwi batsmen failed to click as a unit. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah collectively picked up five wickets and bowled dot balls which created tremendous pressure. With the ball, the New Zealand side failed to defend the moderate total and India eventually sealed the game to keep the series alive. The Indian batsmen chased down the total, thanks to fifties by Shikhar Dhawan and Dinesh Karthik, the duo looked in good touch and got handy support from Virat Kohli and Hardik Pandya, who chipped in to take India over the line. The hosts will look for a repeat and win the series to keep their magnificent form in ODIs intact.

Tom Latham has been in terrific form and the visitors will bank on him, if they have to post a strong total. Kane Williamson must lead from the front and he hasn’t been at his best so far. He might want to bring out a powerful performance in this decider to help his side sail over the line, and shock India with a series win. One can expect a couple of changes in the Blackcaps’ batting line-up, if not in the playing XI. Munro hasn’t been able to pull off what has been expected of him as an opener, and Guptill’s poor run in India continues. Can the Kiwis give a tougher competition than they did in the second ODI and make things difficult for the Indian team? Or will we see the hosts come out all guns blazing to win yet another series and stamp their authority. The third and final ODI promises to be an exciting contest as the winner takes it all!

Stage:

Green Park, Kanpur

Green Park will host the final ODI of the series. India have a strong record at this venue – having won 9 out of 13 games. New Zealand will be playing their first game at this venue and will look to spoil India’s party. The pitch does not encourage pace and bounce and tends to give the spinners an advantage. The surface may just tempt Kane Williamson to go in with an extra spinner for this game.

Acts:

Jasprit Bumrah vs Colin Munro:

The Colin Munro experiment hasn’t been going well for the Kiwis. Jasprit Bumrah has troubled the aggressive southpaw in both the ODIs. Munro usually likes to get on top of pacers early in his innings, and may just look to smack the mickey off the ball when he faces Bumrah in the decider. All said and done, that won’t be such an easy task.

Rohit Sharma vs Adam Milne:

The Indian opener loves facing short balls and he usually deposits them over the rope for boundaries. Milne’s pace might tempt Rohit to go after him. An interesting battle between these two awaits us. Rohit will look to see off the swinging duo of Boult & Southee before he can get under Milne’s skin.

Hardik Pandya vs Mitchell Santner:

We all have seen Hardik’s liking towards facing the spinners. Santner has been economical in the series so far and Hardik will try to ruin his numbers with his powerful striking with the bat. So far, Hardik has got two starts, but those innings haven’t been anywhere close to what we saw him do to the Aussie spinners. If Hardik stays in longer, we could see the Kanpur crowd get their chances to take catches in the crowd.


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