India who is bolstered by the return of Zaheer Khan will look forward to register their third straight victory in the ODI series to take unassailable lead of 3-0 in the five match ODI series against New Zealand at Relaince Stadium, Vadodara.
The series win will not only boost the confidence of young Indian squad but also provide them opportunity to try some other players in remaining last two games for better preparation of world cup 2011. With the series win India will move closer to Australia in the ICC ODI team ranking who is sitting at top at the moment.
The best thing about this young Indian side is, they looked confident whether they are chasing the target or setting the target to New Zealand in the first two games despite absence of some of the key players like Sachin, Sehwag, Dhoni and Harbhajan Singh.
The absence of some of the key players has given opportunity to Yusuf Pathan, R. Ashwin, M.Vijay to try and perform, and they have done with varied degrees of success.
S.Sreesanth who looked in good rhythm in first two ODI’s has been rested by the selectors by keeping South Africa series in mind and brought lef-armer Zaheer Khan in place of him.
On the other hand New Zealand have plenty of work to do to keep this series alive, a loss here will not only end their dreams of winning ODI series in India but also effect their confidence. So far New Zealand have lost eight ODI on trot and this will be there ninth straight loss.
So they are in more vulnerable position than India and will be under lot of pressure to perform. However the return of B.McCullum will certainly boost the confidence of New Zealand side.
Their bowling is a cause of worry with only the experienced Daniel Vettori and Kyle Mills coming up with decent performances in previous ties. Daryl Tuffey returning home due to a bicep injury has dealt a big blow to the visitors.
Watch out for
B.McCullum: He might have missed the first two games but India knows how dangerous customer he will be if he gets going. He has already shown a sign of return to form with the magnificent double hundred in the 2nd test so it will be interesting to watch how he played in the shorter version of the game.
Yusuf Pathan: As we all know when he is in mood and gets going, he can turn any game on his head. So far he has failed to perform at international levels and this might be his last chance to secure the place in the World Cup squad.
Pitch and conditions
As the game start early, team winning the toss is likely to have a bowl first. But as the game progresses it will be batting friendly wicket, so anything below 250 runs will be easily chased by team batting last at Relaince Stadium, Vadodara.
With Suresh Raina getting rest from international duty, it’s likely that Saurabh Tiwary will gain his position. Zaheer Khan and Praveen Kumar also sure certain to make into playing XI.
On the other hand New Zealand will be boosted with the return of their prime player Brendon McCullum and he should take place of so far flop G.Hopkins.
Likely Playing XI for both teams (Match is schedule to begin at 09:00 AM India Time)
India: M Vijay, Gautam Gambhir (Captain), Virat Kohli, Yusuf Pathan, Yuvraj Singh, Saurabh Tiwary, Wriddiman Saha (WK), R Ashwin, Praveen Kumar, Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra.
New Zealand: Brendon McCullum (WK), Martin Guptill, Ross Taylor, Scott Styris, Kane Williamson, Grant Elliott, Daniel Vettori (Captain), Nathan McCullum, Tim Southee, Kyle Mills, Andy McKay.