Injury hit India and New Zealand squads will be tested in ODIs
Despite winning the T20I series against New Zealand, India is still smarting under World Cup semi-finals loss. The intent to avenge was visible by the never say die spirit shown by the Men in Blue in winning the T20I series, 5-0. To add salt to the wound, winning two super over matches in adverse situations have stamped New Zealand as the new chokers.
New Zealand has been losing to India in every series but for the odd victory at World Cup. Solace emerges from the home series in 2013-14, where India was blanked 4-0.
Injury troubles for both nations
New Zealand is feeling the heat of missing Trent Boult, Lockie Ferguson and Matt Henry. However Hamish Bennett and Scott Kuggeleijn have shown promise. Kane Williamson is not fully fit and Ross Taylor is unable to force pace. Inclusion of Tom Latham is a welcome relief but still New Zealand is not the same force due to injuries.
Rohit Sharma's absence from the ODI and Test series is a big blow for the visitors. Shikhar Dhawan was already out, so India lacks explosiveness at the top and new inexperienced middle order of Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey and Shivam Dube will find it an issue to combat New Zealand conditions.
India has an unsettled batting order. Prithvi Shaw will score quick fire 40, but he gives chances so dressing room will be tentative. KL Rahul can't score huge innings like Rohit or Dhawan, so 300+ scores are unlikely unless Virat Kohli comes with a big one.
Coming of age of Pandey is a welcome relief. I had predicted that he will do well in New Zealand as he has analyzed that he can score by amassing ones and two's and doesn't need to get out by trying to hit big shots.
Dube lacks talent against moving ball and Rishabh Pant should replace him.
Indian pace bowlers are in fine nick and they can knock the wind out of any team. The spinners, however, are a worrying factor. India is not able to take wickets in middle over. As the grounds are smaller, Yuzvendra Chahal will not be effective. Kuldeep Yadav should come as he can scalp the formidable middle order of New Zealand. Ravindrja Jadeja is a must for pegging the run rate and providing strength to batting.
On the whole India appears a solid team but not world beaters, looking at the current form.
Opening is an issue, which was exploited by both Australia and England. Williamson and Taylor provide stability. Latham, Colin de Grandhomme, and Jimmy Neesham are threats who can hit Indian spinners to the cleaners.
The Blackcaps' tailenders are bunnies as witnessed during the T20I series.
India has to rotate their pace bowlers to take wickets during the middle overs. Do not allow the Blackcaps' all-rounders to take the game away. In batting, Kohli has to instruct KL Rahul to hold his wicket and let Prithvi Shaw accelerate.
Both Pandey and Pant should rotate strike to set up a sizeable total to defend.
New Zealand has to ensure that they do not lose wickets in the first 10 overs, even if they score only 40. The Blackaps' also have to plug singles of Iyer, Pandey and Pant as they will throw their wickets if they are stifled. Attack Indian spinners, take the score above 280 and India will be in trouble.
In spite of all the follies, Indian pace attack is the difference between the two teams. New Zealand's unfamiliarity with Yadav will be a game-changer for India. If luck favors India as it did in the T20Is, then it can be a whitewash once again.