After loosing the first game by big margin against Sri Lanka, New Zealand will be desperate to make the most against the Indian team. This will be do-or-die affair for the New Zealanders if they would like to stay in the race of Compaq Cup final.
India on the other hand will take field almost after two months interval and Dhoni and his men will keen to start their fresh campaign with the win under their belt. However before playing the first game India has few concerns after Gambhir ruled out of the series because of groin injury which was picked during corporate trophy. Now Virat Kohli will replace him for the rest of the series.
In the absence of Virendra Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir, Indian batting will be now more depended on likes of Tendulkar, Dravid, Dhoni and Yuvraj. Dinesh Karthik who played superbly on recent West Indies tour is likely to open the innings with Sachin Tendulkar. Rahul Dravid who is making comeback to the team is likely to be settled at number three position.
Dhoni’s men are confidence of doing well in Sri Lanka despite of few injuries to their main players. Performance of Indian team in last 13 month in Sri Lanka is awesome; they have won seven out of 10 matches they have played on Sri Lankan spoils. Winning the last two ODI series against Sri Lanka quite comfortably (beating Sri Lanka 3-2 last August and 4-1 in February).
This series can also bring some new height for Indian cricket, if they go unbeaten into the final and win there, they will climb to No. 1 in the ICC's ODI rankings for the first time. At presently they are at number three position in ICC ODI rankings (one point behind South Africa and four points behind Australia).
Despite of less match practice for team India, all players are eager to go against New Zealand. To beat a confident Indian team, New Zealand will have to shape up well for their second game especially their batting is really worrying factor for them throughout their tour to Sri Lanka. None of their batsman looking confidence enough to score runs in critical situations.
Watch out for
Ashish Nehra: A man who came back to the team after performing brilliantly in IPL played in South Africa, and proved his selection right by picking up crucial wickets on the tour of West Indies. His record on Sri Lankan soil is also outstanding, in 17 matches he has picked up 25 wickets at 26.36 with the best of 6/59.
Ross Taylor: Ross Taylor has immense talent and could prove costly for the Indians if they take him lightly. So far his bat is silent on the tour but a batsman of his caliber doesn’t need too many games to come back into his original. It will be interesting to watch him bat against Indian bowlers.
Pitch & Condition
As usual R.Premdasa wicket will be slow and low with unexpected bounce on the wickets. Rain is expected to play spoil sport in the game on Friday but let’s hope for the best to get a good game on our hand. Team winning the toss is likely to bat first and put decent score around 230-260 on the board to put pressure on team batting second.
With Gautam Gambhir out of action for rest of the series, Dinesh Karthik and Sachin Tendulkar are likely to open for India. Indian team is likely to go into the game with three pacer and one specialist spinner. That means Ashish Nehra, Ishant Sharma and Praveen Kumar is likely to be included in playing XI with off-spinner Harbhajan Singh playing his part.
New Zealand team is likely to go into the game with same XI. However Ian Butler who turned as expensive bowler for New Zealand against Sri Lanka is likely to be replaced by Kyle Mills.
Likely Playing XI for both Teams (Match is Schedule to begin at 14:30 PM India Time)
India Squad: Sachin Tendulkar, Dinesh Karthik, Rahul Dravid, MS Dhoni (Captain & WK), Yuvraj Singh, S Raina, Yusuf Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Ishant Sharma, Praveen Kumar, Ashish Nehra.
New Zealand Squad: Brendon McCullum (WK), Jesse Ryder, Martin Guptill, Ross Taylor, Jacob Oram, Grant Elliot, Daniel Vettori (Captain), Nathan McCullum, Kyle Mills, Daryl Tuffey, Shane Bond.
In the last 11 games at R.Premdasa team batting first has won 10 times.
Sachin Tendulkar averages 44.25 at R.Premdasa with 885 Runs to his name.
Rahul Dravid who is making comeback to the team averages 31.25 at R.Premdasa with aggregate of 500 runs to his name.