Expect similar starts, but will the end be different?
Match factsTuesday, January 28, 2014
Start time 1400 local (0100 GMT)
Big PictureThe series has produced three close finishes, but there has been a certain caginess to both the sides. New Zealand have been wary of the Indian batsmen, India have been wary of Indian bowlers.
New Zealand have been over-aiming in the last 15 overs, scoring massively in spurts but also losing wickets to end up with scores either par or slightly over par. India have won the tosses, but even on a slow pitch and despite having failed chasing of late, they have refused to bat first because they don't want their batsmen to be under a similar pressure of over-aiming for an Indian-bowlers-proof total. The New Zealand bowlers, like their batsmen, have been superb in the first 35, but it is the resilience of the Indian batting that took the first two matches close and tied the third to keep the series alive.
Coming back to Hamilton for the fourth ODI, expect a similar script. The pitch will be slow, which will become slower in the second innings, so New Zealand will want to bat first, set up a solid platform in the first 35, and then go big in the last 15. India haven't given any indication they will change their plan of chasing whatever their bowlers give them to chase despite the slowness of the Hamilton pitch. Except they will want more from their batsmen and their bowlers in the first 35 overs, New Zealand will have similar demands in the last 15.
India can't win the series now, but if they win both the matches they can keep their No. 1 ranking besides just leveling the series.
Form guideNew Zealand TWWLW (last five completed matches, most recent first)
In the spotlightBrendon McCullum has captained the side superbly and refreshingly aggressively, but he hasn't yet come off with the bat. He is one of the explosive three - Corey Anderson and Luke Ronchi being the others - to take advantage of the platform set by the top four, but he hasn't been able to reprise the form he displayed in the series defeat against England last year when he scored three consecutive half-centuries. He will first want to avoid a hat-trick of ducks, and then do something about having scored just one fifty in his last 15 innings.
Suresh Raina's drought has been longer. He has scored just one fifty - that too against Zimbabwe - in his last 30 innings without any threat to his place in the side. The rope must be getting shorter.
Teams newsIt will be interesting to see if New Zealand go back to Kyle Mils on the slower Seddon Park pitch after Hamish Bennett's showing at Eden Park. It's unlikely Correy Anderson will be rested yet with the series still alive.
New Zealand 1 Martin Guptill, 2 Jesse Ryder, 3 Kane Williamson, 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Brendon McCullum (capt.), 6 Corey Anderson, 7 Luke Ronchi (wk), 8 Nathan McCullum, 9. Kyle Mills/Hamish Bennett, 10 Tim Southee, 11 Mitchell McClenaghan
India are likely to retain the XI that tied the Auckland ODI. Suresh Raina is feeling good about his sore elbow.
India 1 Rohit Sharma, 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Ajinkya Rahane, 5 MS Dhoni (capt. & wk), 6 Suresh Raina, 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 R Ashwin, 9 Varun Aaron, 10 Mohammed Shami, 11 Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Pitch and conditionsR Ashwin expects the pitch to be quicker than six days ago, but the basic nature of the Hamilton surface is unlikely to change. There has been rain around, but it is unlikely to be a threat to the match.
Stats and trivia
- The last 20 times that India have won the toss outside Asia, they have chosen to bowl.
- New Zealand have never lost a home ODI after posting 300 batting first.
- Corey Anderson has registered both a hundred and a five-for in ODIs after just 12 games, a new record. Greg Chappell, the previous incumbent of the record, took 16 games to achieve the feat.
Quotes"I used to be surprised initially when I was going away from India to see so many India fans. Now wherever we go even to England or Australia, it is lovely to see the hospitality we get in terms of fans. There was a situation in the Champions Trophy when we outnumbered the English fans in the final."
R Ashwin thanks the expat Indian
"That's cricket. Things like that happen. What we have done against West Indies and this series ... we haven't had many of those times. For a little while there, I guess everyone gets excited and under pressure, you fumble things and you miss chances. You are thinking of the outcome instead of the processes. Like i said before, if we keep going with the same mindset we have had for a while now, then in the next game, we shouldn't make those kind of mistakes."
Luke Ronchi's answer to whether New Zealand cracked under the pressure in Auckland
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo