Both India and New Zealand will look forward to start their MicroMax Cup tri-series campaign on a brighter note. However both teams will be without some of their regular ODI players.
India will miss Tendulkar, Gambhir, Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan while New Zealand will play without their regular Captain Daniel Vettorie, Jesse Ryder and B.McCullum.
Team India are fielding fresh blood for this tournament and will be hoping that unlike the Zimbabwe tour earlier this year, the senior players are not missed this time around. However last time in Zimbabwe India was without Sehwag, Dhoni or Yuvraj but this time they are mixed with experienced and some youth ones to test their bench strength in preparation of World Cup.
Some of the players like A.Mithun who impressed both with bat and ball in the recently concluded test series against Sri Lanka will be watched very eagerly by Indian selectors in search of an all-rounder they were looking for before the world cup.
Players like M.S.Dhoni, Virendra Sehwag, Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh will lead Indian batting while Ashish Nehra and P.Kumar will be the key in bowling department for India.
Ravinder Jadeja who so far failed with bat when needed will also be under pressure to give India a much needed all-rounder they were looking for.
The New Zealanders, who have always relied on collective team effort rather than individual brilliance, can be expected to fight to the finish as always. All-rounders Jacob Oram and Scott Styris, fast medium bowler Kyle Mills and Ross Taylor, who will be captaining the side, will be the players to watch out for.
Both teams looks well settled on paper but as we all know the toss will once again play important role in this tournament as we have seen in past. So regardless of team strength the outcome of game will much depend on who wins the toss.
Watch out for
Virendra Sehwag: After a great batting display in the test series against Sri Lanka, he will be eager to play in ODI’s. He is making comeback in ODI format after missing the last few games in Asia Cup. He is looking fit and more aggressive than before. So once again he will be the key man for India in the absence of Gambhir and Tendulkar.
R.Taylor: In a tour game, he has played some vital knock for his country and his tem will once again rely on him for good score in the absence of J.Ryder and B.McCullum. For a man with little captaincy experience, Taylor also has the added challenge of leading the side.
Pitch & Condition
There is no game played at this venue after the completion of Asia Cup, so the pitch will be fresh and will provide ample support for the pacer especially in night time. As we have seen here the team batting second struggled to score runs because of insufficient lights as well as condition, so toss will once again influence the outcome of this game as well as entire tournament.
Whichever team wins the toss would love to bat first and put decent runs on the board.
Both India and New Zealand is playing this series without some of their key players and that is great news for youngster to show there immense talent and prove themselves at international level to give themselves a chance to play in ICC major event World Cup 2011.
Ishant Sharma is likely to miss the first game because of Ankle injury, that means Praveen Kumar and Ashish Nehra will lead the attack with A.Mithun will play as support bowler. India may also think of going with Virat Kohli as an opener in place of Dinesh Karthik.
New Zealand on the other hand will be also without there regular Captain D.Vettori, however this will not affect their chances in this tournament as they have quite a few youngster who can turn the game on their heads. Players like P.Ingram, Kane Williamson and Nathan McCullum are quite capable of playing under any circumstances.
Likely Playing XI for both Teams (Match is Schedule to begin at 14:30 PM India Time)
India Squad: Virendra Sehwag, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni (Captain/WK), Suresh Raina, Ravinder Jadeja, A.Mithun, P.Kumar, P.Ojha, Ashish Nehra.
New Zealand Squad: Martin Guptill, Peter Ingram, Ross Taylor (Captain), Kane Williamson, Scott Styris, Grant Elliott, Gareth Hopkins (WK), Nathan McCullum, Daryl Tuffey, Kyle Mills, Andy McKay.