After three clinical performances in Napier and Bay Oval, Rohit Sharma’s Indian cricket team came crashing down to earth with a woeful show in the Hamilton ODI. The team was missing the services of Virat Kohli, who has been rested for the remainder of the tour while MS Dhoni had not recovered from a hamstring injury. Trent Boult found some swing and his figures of 5/21 bowled Rohit Sharma’s side out for 92, their lowest-ever total in New Zealand. Kane Williamson’s side got much some much-needed confidence back as they secured an eight-wicket win to achieve a consolation win. Heading into the final ODI in Wellington, Rohit’s side has received a major boost with Dhoni being declared fit. However, assistant coach Sanjay Bangar believes the Hamilton collapse was an aberration.
“The middle order has rose to the occasion many times and delivered. Yes some situation has been trying but it is not that the middle order hasn't performed. When required, more often than not whenever it has been put in a situation, it has delivered, may be the last game was an aberration. If they (top order batsmen) are batting well then the middle order doesn't get the opportunity required to maintain the groove. It is also one of those series where our top order hasn't got a hundred, so it has given a lot of time to the middle order to go out there and play situations ... and they have finished games when they have got an opportunity,” Bangar said.
Bangar might have termed the Hamilton collapse as a one-off, but he will be aware that this is a situation that India must address. The middle order needs to step up if Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli fail on a big day. It happened in the 2017 Champions Trophy, when Rohit, Dhawan and Kohli failed in the final against Pakistan and the rest of the batting order floundered. With Dhoni coming back into the mix, he might come back in place of Dinesh Karthik who was dismissed for 0 in Hamilton. The other change could be Mohammed Shami replacing Khaleel Ahmed in the side. Rohit’s side might not want to tamper too much with the side after one loss and the addition of Dhoni gives the batting a tremendous boost.
On the other hand, New Zealand has gotten some of their confidence back after their win in Hamilton. Opener Henry Nicholls, who replaced Colin Munro in the fourth ODI, made an unbeaten 30 to provide solidity at the top, while Ross Taylor looked in good touch en route his 93 and 37 not out in the last two innings. New Zealand, however, is likely to miss out opener Martin Guptill who suffered a back injury during practice. In bowling department, Boult has swung his way with a five wicket haul while Grandhomme seemed to have regained confidence with his three wicket haul in the last match.
James Neesham and spinner Todd Astle give additional depth to the bowling while Kane Williamson will be hoping for a solid start from Munro in the powerplay.
India: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, Vijay Shankar, Shubman Gill, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Siraj, Khaleel Ahmed, Ravindra Jadeja, Hardik Pandya.
New Zealand: Kane Williamson (c), Todd Astle, Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham (wk), Colin Munro, Jimmy Neesham, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, and Ross Taylor.