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The Preview by Sidharth Monga
January 30, 2014
Match factsFriday, January 31, 2014
Big PictureThe series is gone, the No. 1 ranking too for now, but how are we doing with the memory of winning a match? India need to be reminded of that feeling.
Their long sojourn away from Asia began with the tour of South Africa in December and now halfway through the New Zealand tour, they are yet to win a match. They must be reaching a stage where they start to doubt themselves and everything around them. When they are reminded of their previous long trips outside Asia. Especially worrisome will be that except for the Wanderers Test they have never really been ahead in a contest despite whatever encouragement they can draw from the rearguards that ran New Zealand close in three ODIs.
This might be a dead rubber, but India need to reassure themselves they can win before they go into the Test series. That this is not the same nightmare of 2011 playing itself out again. Somehow, through individual brilliance or through dogged teamwork, India need to win a match. New Zealand need to do everything within their powers to convince India that they are indeed back on the treadmill of defeat. They will not want to be very generous with resting players. They will want to maintain that psychological hold over Indian bowlers, they will want to keep denying the Indian batsmen easy runs, and with that any confidence going into the Tests.
Form guide(last five completed matches, most recent first)
New Zealand WTWWL
In the spotlightKane Williamson has been beating India at their own game. He is superb against spin, he is never hurried, he clams the whole innings down, he doesn't take undue risks, and has been setting up solid platforms for the hitters to go big. Actually he has spoilt the big hitters with his accuracy: if he scores 50 or more in Wellington, he will share the second-longest streak of fifties for New Zealand with Roger Twose and Martin Guptill, and will be only one behind Andrew Jones.
MS Dhoni is one run short of 8,000 ODI runs, and will be the fastest to that mark for batsmen who bat so low down the order. Amid all the chaos around him - the ordinary bowling, the struggling batting - Dhoni has displayed a Williamson-like consistency scoring 40, 56, 50 and 79 not out. Can he conjure something to take his side one step ahead and actually register a win?
Teams newsNew Zealand have called up uncapped Canterbury quick Matt Henry, who took a first-class five-for last week. There might be a few bowlers with niggles, but Nathan McCullum also said they were pretty keen to "nail the series 4-0", so don't expect changes just for the sake of it. Tim Southee is likely to be rested, meaning that Hamish Bennett will keep continue to keep his place in the team.
New Zealand 1 Martin Guptill, 2 Jesse Ryder, 3 Kane Williamson, 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Brendon McCullum (capt.), 6 James Neesham, 7 Luke Ronchi (wk), 8 Nathan McCullum, 9. Kyle Mills, 10 Tim Southee/Hamish Bennett, 11 Mitchell McClenaghan
India, averse to change for so long, suddenly pulled two out of the bag, which unsettled the batting line-up a little. However, Dhoni later said that Virat Kohli at the top of the innings was probably a one-off, and that Ajinkya Rahane was not going to open in ODIs. This might mean a return for Shikhar Dhawan. India might also look to give Ishant Sharma a go in order to get him into rhythm before the Tests.
India 1 Rohit Sharma, 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Ajinkya Rahane, 5 MS Dhoni (capt. & wk), 6 Stuart Binny/Ambati Rayudu, 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 R Ashwin, 9 Varun Aaron/Ishant Sharma, 10 Mohammed Shami, 11 Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Stats and trivia
Quotes"It would be lovely. When we set out for this series, just a win would have been fantastic, but the way we have played in this series, to be as consistent as we have been, 4-0 will be a fantastic result."
"I don't think there is a big difference in what the sides are doing. It is about small things. We are making little errors. It is just that we panic a bit, and we have to reduce that percentage. I don't think there is any major problem why we are not clicking in batting and bowling."
Ravindra Jadeja wants his team-mates to do the little things right
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Sidharth Monga
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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