Who will blink first - India or New Zealand?

Harris: Don't see New Zealand making any changes (1:42)

India and New Zealand play the final ODI in Kanpur with the series tied at 1-1 (1:42)

Big picture

If the series opener was about New Zealand's adaptability - they bumped Colin Munro to the top and launched the sweep-happy Tom Latham in the middle order - then the second match was about India's bouncebackability. This now means India and New Zealand will square off in an ODI series decider for the second time in two years.

Last year, on October 29, India picked three specialist spinners on a slow turner in Visakhapatnam, where New Zealand capsized to 79 all out from 63 for 2. What will Kanpur throw up this October 29? For starters, everyone is coy about the pitch following the "dismissal" or "suspension" of Pune curator Pandurang Salgaoncar for allegedly promising to manipulate the track for the second ODI. Can Munro counter Bhuvneshwar Kumar's lateral movement and variations? Can Latham find another way if India's spinners cut off the sweep again?

The visitors, though, can draw confidence from Colin de Grandhomme, who handled spin adeptly: he doesn't use his feet much but is a powerful hitter down the ground. Henry Nicholls wasn't as fluent but held one end up after New Zealand were pinned down to 58 for 4.

India's middle-order worries have also eased a bit with Dinesh Karthik steering India's chase of 231 with a busy 64 not out. He also has the vote of confidence from the team management with captain Virat Kohli saying he is "more aware of how to bat in the middle order". The hosts, however, will have to be wary of the pressure of a must-win situation. Of late, limited-overs cricket has been as easy as eating a sandwich for India, but pressure can do strange things. Case in point: the Champions Trophy final at the Oval, where India froze in their chase.

Form guide

India: WLWLW (completed matches, most recent first)
New Zealand: LWLLL

In the spotlight

From playing just two ODIs in 2016 to becoming the leader of the pack this year, Bhuvneshwar Kumar has ticked all boxes: he has added a yard or two of pace, he bowls the tough overs up front and also at the back end, and also has the knuckle ball up his sleeve. The younger bowlers, meanwhile, are glowing in praise of his inputs. That he is a competent batsman has also stretched India's batting line-up.

From blowing hot in the Champions Trophy, Kane Williamson has blown cold in India. He misread a googly from Kuldeep Yadav in the first ODI, and then played around his front pad against Jasprit Bumrah on Wednesday. New Zealand need their captain to fire like he can in the decider.

Team news

Kohli has been tempted to play both wristspinners, Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav, but Axar Patel, who held his own and nabbed Latham in the second match, is likely to keep his spot ahead of Kuldeep.

India (probable): 1 Rohit Sharma, 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Virat Kohli (capt), 4 Dinesh Karthik, 5 Kedar Jadhav, 6 MS Dhoni (wk), 7 Hardik Pandya, 8 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 9 Axar Patel/Kuldeep Yadav, 10 Yuzvendra Chahal, 11 Jasprit Bumrah

New Zealand, too, might stick with the same XI.

New Zealand (probable): 1 Martin Guptill, 2 Colin Munro, 3 Kane Williamson (capt), 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Tom Latham (wk), 6 Henry Nicholls, 7 Colin de Grandhomme, 8 Mitchell Santner, 9 Adam Milne, 10 Trent Boult, 11 Tim Southee

Pitch and conditions

The last time Kanpur hosted an ODI it saw its two highest ODI totals. South Africa ran up 303 for 5, and Kagiso Rabada defied MS Dhoni at the death to limit India to 298 for 7. The weather is expected to be fine for the duration of the match.

Stats and trivia

  • New Zealand have played three ODI deciders in India - in 1995, 1999, and 2016 - and have lost them all.

  • Virat Kohli needs 83 runs to become the sixth Indian player - after Sachin Tendulkar, Saurav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Mohammad Azharuddin and MS Dhoni - to score 9000 runs in ODIs.

  • The last time India lost a bilateral series at home was against South Africa in 2015.


"This is again [a] pressure game, it's a decider. It matters that how we prepare for the match, our preparation for each match has been good. We will try and repeat what we did in the last match. Whatever our strategy and planning was there it's important that we do it again."
Bhuvneshwar Kumar

"The series is on the line tomorrow. That's what we play for. Good sides have come here and walked away empty-handed. It'll be nice to, I guess, seal the series here. But India are a tough team in their own conditions as they have shown that over a while. It's very tough to win over here."
Tim Southee