ODI series preview: New Zealand v India

Reports & previews

India go into the five-match ODI series against New Zealand with their number one ranking at stake, needing to win the series by any margin to retain it. A loss will see Australia become the top-ranked side.

India go into the five-match ODI series against New Zealand with their number one ranking at stake, needing to win the series by any margin to retain it. A loss will see Australia become the top-ranked side.

These two teams last faced each other on a one-dayer in 2010, where India won the five-match series in a whitewash at home. Of the last 10 ODIs between the sides, India have won eight, and the Kiwis last won a bilateral series against Dhoni's men in 2003.

India's most recent ODI series, the three-match affair against the Proteas in December, saw the South Africans win two-nil, with a whitewash avoided thanks to rain. India lost those two games by huge margins and were toothless with the ball.

The Black Caps, though facing less stringent opposition, had better luck recently, drawing the ODIs against the West Indies two all, before winning the T20 series that followed. Their batting in particular, while inconsistent, had some major highs.

Still, India's batting order is rather more effective than the Gayle-less Windies', with Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma providing a three-pronged threat, no matter how quick the 150kph-plus Adam Milne is.

The Indian weakness is their pace attack. The arrival of Mohammed Shami during the series against Australia last year was a delight, but otherwise the performances of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma and even Ravi Ashwin have been below par.

Conversely, the Black Caps have enjoyed some good returns with the ball, with Tim Southee, Kyle Mills and Milne taking regular wickets. All-rounder Corey Anderson, hero with the bat against the Windies, has also been effective.

<b>Key Men</b><br>For the hosts, public opinion would have it that Corey Anderson is the man of the hour, and Jesse Ryder has made an impressive comeback, but a bowler will need to fire on all cylinders. Adam Milne's pace could be the deciding factor.

India have a host of match winners, but all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, so effective with the ball in recent months, could be the Kiwis' undoing. Never that solid against spin, they will find Jadeja a tough prospect.

<b>Last Five Head-To-Head Results</b><br>2010 Fifth ODI: India won by eight wickets in Chennai<br> 2010 Fourth ODI: India won by five wickets in Bangalore<br>2010 Third ODI: India won by nine wickets in Vadodara<br>2010 Second ODI: India won by eight wickets in Jaipur<br>2010 First ODI: India won by 40 runs in Guwahati

<b>Prediction</b><br>Depsite recent results, one has to take opposition and ranking into account, so we're going to give the win to India. They'll take three, the Kiwis one, and a rain abandonment for the other.

<b>Squads</b><br><i>New Zealand:</i> Brendon McCullum, Corey Anderson, Martin Guptill, Mitchell McClenaghan, Nathan McCullum, Kyle Mills, Adam Milne, James Neesham, Luke Ronchi, Jesse Ryder, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Kane Williamson.

<i>India:</i> Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Ambati Rayudu, Suresh Raina, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Amit Mishra, Ishwar Pandey, Stuart Binny, Varun Aaron.

<b>Fixtures</b><br>First ODI: 19 January in Napier<br>Second ODI: 22 January in Hamilton<br>Third ODI: 25 January in Auckland<br>Fourth ODI: 28 January in Hamilton<br>Fifth ODI: 31 January in Wellington

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