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Bowling a worry as India aim to seal ODI series vs NZ

January 20, 2023 11:58 IST

IMAGE: Fast bowler Umran Malik could replace Shardul Thakur in Saturday's second ODI against New Zealand in Raipur. Photograph: BCCI

India will be expecting more runs from the middle order and discipline in the death overs as they look for a series sealing win against New Zealand in the second ODI in Raipur on Saturday.

With the city hosting its first-ever international game, a sell out crowd of 60,000 plus is expected to cheer the home team.


After being down and out at 131/6, New Zealand were allowed to score another 206 runs in the chase of 350 and that should worry India.

The visitors looked like getting a remarkable come-from-behind win but the individual brilliance of Mohammed Siraj stopped them.

With the bat, Shubman Gill, who smashed a scintillating double century, had single-handedly taken India to a competitive total with the others falling by the wayside. Virat Kohli's individual effort had stood out in the previous game against Sri Lanka.

IMAGE: Shubman Gill celebrates his double century in the. Photograph: BCCI

Hardik Pandya, who has not been at his belligerent best of late, will be expected to give final flourish to the innings. Accommodated in the middle-order following his double hundred performance in Bangladesh, Ishan Kishan would be itching to make the most of the opportunity after failing with the bat in the series opener in Hyderabad.

Skipper Rohit Sharma has looked good and got starts but has not been able to convert, and Saturday could well be his day.

However, bigger concerns lie in the bowling department after the hiding the bowlers got from Michael Bracewell, who put the Indian attack to sword on Wednesday.

India brought Shardul Thakur into the team at the expense of the super quick Umran Malik considering his batting abilities. But the move backfired as Thakur, after a tidy start, went for plenty of runs to finish with 2/54 in 7.2 overs. The team management will need to figure out if it wants a bowler who can bat or a specialist fast bowler who can rattle the opposition with extra pace and get wickets in the middle overs.

Siraj has developed into an all phase bowler but others need to step up. Mohammad Shami was brilliant with the new ball but was taken to the cleaners by Bracewell, while Hardik too was expensive.

IMAGE: Kuldeep Yadav celebrates a wicket during the first ODI against New Zealand. Photograph: BCCI

In the spin department, Washington Sundar had a game to forget while Kuldeep Yadav continued his impressive run. The team also has the option playing Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep together but it has stuck to one wrist spinner and one finger spinner policy.

New Zealand's never-say-die spirit came to the fore in the series opener and they would take a lot of heart from that. It won't be a regular occurrence that a number seven in Bracwell and number eight in Mitchell Santner will bring back the team from a hopeless situation.

Finn Allen started off aggressively but could not make it big. And in the absence of Kane Williamson, New Zealand need someone to anchor the innings.

The pace trio of Henry Shipley, Lockie Ferguson and Blair Tickner will be looking for more accuracy after being mercilessly attacked by Gill. It remains to be seen if Ish Sodhi regains full fitness for the must-win game for his team.


India: Rohit Sharma (captain), Shubman Gill, Ishan Kishan (w/k), Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, K S Bharat (w/k), Hardik Pandya (vice-captain), Washington Sundar, Shahbaz Ahmed, Shardul Thakur, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohd. Shami, Mohd. Siraj, Umran Malik.

New Zealand: Tom Latham (captain, w/k), Finn Allen, Doug Bracewell, Michael Bracewell, Mark Chapman, Devon Conway, Jacob Duffy, Lockie Ferguson, Daryl Mitchell, Henry Nicholls, Glenn Phillips, Mitchell Santner, Henry Shipley, Ish Sodhi, Blair Tickner.

Match starts at 1.30pm IST.

Where to watch: New Zealand's tour of India will be broadcast live on Star Sports, it will also be streamed live on Hotstar app.

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