A second string Indian team was good enough to beat the Kiwis in the first ODI in Guwahati. India were helped to an extent by inept batting from the New Zealand batsmen who chased a getable target after it looked, at a stage, as though India would run away to 300, and beyond. From 220/3 in the 41st over, India lost their way, indicating that this Indian batting might have struggled to chase a similar score had they batted second.
At Jaipur, New Zealand’s best opportunity against any Indian side is to bat first, and put up runs on the board. Batting second, India have lost to every team, whether Kenya, or Zimbabwe, or Bangladesh.
With his century, in the first ODI, Virat Kohli might have confirmed his place in the 14 for the World Cup, thereby denting the chances of the likes of Rohit Sharma and Dinesh Kartik. But will he get to play in the first eleven? The only way Kohli can be accomodated in a first eleven at the World Cup would be at Gambhir’s cost. Unless Raina or Yuvraj, who present Dhoni with additional bowling options, are found more dispensable.
Another player who could find himself among the probables is Ashwin, though with Ojha coming along well, recently, the off-spinner could stay on the bench to fill in for Harbhajan or Ojha, if and when either is injured.
By propping up Gambhir as captain, the Indian selectors have shut the door on Yuvraj’s captaincy aspirations, once and for all. They might have done Yuvraj a favour, though the proof of the proverbial cake is in its eating.
Ahead of the Jaipur game, New Zealand will welcome the return of Vettori and the fragile Indian batting is bound to be tested by his 10 overs. The consolation for Gambhir’s side is that Brendon McCullum and Ryder could miss the match, both sidelined with injury. Additionally, Tuffey who took two wickets at Guwahati is out of the match, and the series, following a bicep strain picked up during the first ODI.
The match will get interesting if the Kiwis bat first and manage to score 275 to 300 (stranger things have happened on Indian wickets), especially as India would have to bat under lights.
About the Author (Author Profile)
Jinxatious is the Chief Editor of SportingAttitude.com
An avid writer, on an eclectic range of subjects, he brings to bear editorial experience garnered with a national newspaper in South-East Asia. He also has sportscasting experience, as a cricket commentator, and his passion for sport extends beyond Cricket, to Football, Tennis, and Olympic Sports.