Team India has landed in New Zealand for their upcoming 5-match ODI and 3-match T20 series. After ending their historical Australian tour on a high, they would be eyeing to seal this ODI series as well on their road to the ICC World Cup. Both the sides have been consistently performing well in the recent time. Where India won their first-ever bilateral series Down Under, the Blackcaps whitewashed the Lankan tigers who failed to win a single match during that tour. Kohli and Kane have led their respective sides tremendously, and are considered by many as the frontrunners to lift the upcoming ICC World Cup.
England is now coming of age and has revolutionised the way ODI cricket is played these days. They have the best success rate in the ODIs since January 2017, followed by India and New Zealand. The Kiwis will be under pressure to stop the march of mighty Indians, who are flying high on confidence after their Australian tour. This is definitely a crucial series for the Boys in Blue, as they would be eyeing to avenge their 4-0 loss in 2014.
The ICC Cricketer of the Year 2018, Virat Kohli, is pumped heading into this contest tomorrow morning. Indian bowlers will play a crucial role in this series as pitches here are much better than Australia. Batsmen will find it easy to score once they settle in nicely and 300 plus runs are definitely on the board. Bowlers will look to restrict the Kiwi batsmen and try to bowl in right areas. The grounds are generally small in New Zealand so slogging becomes easy for most of the batsmen.
Indian batting line-up is very top heavy, and most of the runs are generally scored by the top three. The middle-order batsmen need to step up in this series against quality bowling attack. Ish Sodhi and Mitchell Santner will test the Indian batsmen in the middle overs. MS Dhoni is back in form which will give the Indian side a lot of confidence and belief going into this series. His waiting game will allow the likes of Jadhav and Karthik to flourish.
New Zealand which had a great season under Kane Williamson, is regarded as one of the contenders to lift the upcoming ICC World Cup. The Kiwis are heading into this series after thrashing Sri Lanka by 3-0 in the ODI series. They arguably have the most balanced side with a good mixture of youth and experience. Ross Taylor and Martin Guptill are the mainstays of the Blackcaps batting lineup. Tom Latham will have a different approach in the middle overs followed by Colin de Grandhomme and Doug Bracewell who will come in the slog overs. Jimmy Neesham will miss out due to his hamstring injury.
Trent Boult and Lockie Ferguson will spearhead the pace attack along with the veteran Tim Southee. They can trouble Indian batsmen in the early stages of the game and look expose the vulnerable Indian middle-order.
Kohli & Co would be eyeing to make a statement in this series as well and pass the test successfully. The Indian team will be considering this as the preparation of the upcoming ICC World Cup 2019. They have to work out some combinations to get the right balance in the side. We have to wait to witness what unfolds when the World no. 2 and no. 3 ODI teams will take on each other for the ultimate battle.