NZ vs Ind 3rd ODI Preview: India face do or die situation
Only twice has a team managed to win a 5-match series after being 2-0 down in the history of ODI cricket. On Saturday, India would be hoping to become the third such team as they take on New Zealand at Auckland.
Though, not much has gone Team India's way ever since they entered the Kiwi land. Apart from Virat Kohli and to an extent MS Dhoni, no other batsman has shown the willingness to last long at the crease. Kohli, who has already scored a hundred and a fifty, is the lone warrior standing tall in the battlefield. The openers are falling, the middle order is crumbling. In the bowling department, Mohammad Shami has been the only ray of hope surrounded by the ineffectiveness of his pace partners and spinners.
The visitors came close to winning in both ODIs, but were undone by under-performers. Going into the 3rd ODI, Team India will have a lot more at stake than just defending their number one rank. They need to get their act together in a must-win game, before the Kiwis fly away with a hat-trick of wins. The spotlight will be on India's Rohit Sharma, who has continued his bad patch from the South Africa series. His dot-ball consumption has been a cause of concern for a long time. The opener needs to tweak his approach in a slightly better way. Ishant Sharma and R Ashwin's worrisome run also needs to be considered. A couple of important changes in the side is the need of the hour, especially with Suresh Raina doubtful after suffering a tissue damage during practice.
For New Zealand, Kane Williamson has looked in tremendous form with fifties in both matches. New Zealand boast of an explosive top order in Martin Guptill and Jesse Ryder, and the duo need to dig in longer. Corey Anderson is spot on as far as troubling India with his all-round skills is concerned and the hosts will be banking on him yet again.
A bright and sunny day at Auckland awaits a juicy contest between two teams who will be eager to come out triumphant.