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India v New Zealand: India chase top spot in ODIs, New Zealand a slice of history

NEW DELHI: India have just been displaced at the top of the ICC ODI championship by South Africa, but Virat Kohli‘s buoyant team have a chance to reclaim the top spot heading into a three-game series with New Zealand starting October 22 in Mumbai. India are placed second on the basis of decimal points, but have the same number of points (120) as South Africa, and can move back to the top with a series win over New Zealand.

In 2017, India have won 17 of 22 completed ODIs – a span that includes a 3-0 sweep of England, a 3-2 run in the ICC Champions Trophy, where they lost to Pakistan in the final, a 3-1 win in the West Indies, a 5-0 whitewash in Sri Lanka and most recently a 4-1 victory over Australia at home. In the same time, Kane Williamson‘s New Zealand have won seven of 13 completed ODIs – beating Australia 2-0 at home, losing 2-3 to South Africa at home, winning a low-key series featuring Ireland and Bangladesh (to whom they lost once) and then being knocked out of the Champions Trophy in the first round with another defeat to Bangladesh.

Statistically, things are not stacked in New Zealand’s favour when it comes to ODIs in India. While in multi-team tournaments their record on Indian soil is 18-11, the bigger picture is that New Zealand have never won a bilateral ODI series in India. The five series contested between the two teams – in 1988, 1995, 1999, 2010 and 2016 – were each won by the home team. The first of these was a 4-0 win for Dilip Vengsarkar‘s team over John Wright‘s tourists, following India’s 2-1 victory in the Tests. India won by four wickets, five wickets, 53 runs and two wickets before the fifth match in Jammu was abandoned due to heavy rain.

In 1995, Mohammad Azharuddin‘s Indian team won 3-2. New Zealand took the series lead in Jamshedpur with Martin Crowe scoring an unbeaten hundred, but India won the second and fourth matches – the third was abandoned – to take the advantage back. Lee Germon’s team made it 2-2 with a 99-run win in Nagpur, setting up the decider nicely. The sixth ODI was a one-sided affair, with New Zealand bowled out for 126 in 35 overs and India cantering home with six wickets and 108 deliveries remaining.

Four years later, the scoreline was again 3-2 to India, this time led by Sachin Tendulkar. This was the series in which Tendulkar and Dravid etched their names into ODI cricket’s record books with a mammoth partnership that until last year stood unchallenged. In the second match in Hyderabad, Tendulkar (186*) and Dravid (153) put on 331 for the second wicket to set up a total of 376/2, which meant victory for India by 174 runs. Like in 1995, the series was locked at 2-2 heading into the last game. India, once again, kept New Zealand for a low score (179/9) and won with ease – by seven wickets.

In 2010, an Indian team missing a few regular players and led by Gautam Gambhir whitewashed New Zealand 5-0. The closest that Ross Taylor‘s touring side came to winning was in the fourth ODI in Bangalore, where they made 315/7 and had India 108/4, only for Yusuf Pathan to hit an unbeaten 123 from 96 balls to help fashion victory by five wickets. The other matches were won by 40 runs, eight wickets, nine wickets and eight wickets.

In 2016, New Zealand played India in five ODIs after losing the Tests 0-3. The ODIs were a refreshing break from the template, with a more competitive New Zealand unit forcing a decider after four matches. After a limp defeat in the series opener in Dharamsala, Williamson’s team squeezed to a six-run victory in the second ODI, and then, following a seven-wicket loss in Mohali, held their nerve to claim the fourth ODI game by 19 runs. That set up a tantalising decider in Visakhapatnam, but here the Kiwis came undone dramatically against Amit Mishra who took 5/18 to skittle them for a stunning 79.

Will Williamson’s team – ranked fifth in ODI cricket – be able to buck the trend against India? Or will Kohli’s India make it six series wins over New Zealand?

Source : timesofindia

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India v New Zealand: India chase top spot in ODIs, New Zealand a slice of history


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