With the T20Is done and dusted, Team India will now lock horns with hosts New Zealand in a three-match ODI series. The first game of the series will be played at the Eden Park in Auckland on Thursday (November 24).
The Men in Blue have rested some big names and veteran opener Shikhar Dhawan will lead the side. This new-look Indian team has had quite some success of late, winning ODI series against West Indies, Zimbabwe and South Africa.
However, it will certainly not be easy to compete against a strong Kiwi side in their own den.
India have also lost each of their last four ODIs against New Zealand and will need to win some key individual match-ups if they are to break their losing streak. On that note, let’s take a look at three player battles that could define the result of the first ODI:
#3 Shreyas Iyer vs Lockie Ferguson
With Virat Kohli rested, Shreyas Iyer is likely to be India’s No. 3 in the ODI series against the Kiwis. He has been in sensational form in this format of late, even scoring a hundred in his previous ODI series against the Proteas.
However, Iyer’s weakness against the short ball was exposed once again in the T20I series. Speedster Lockie Ferguson will be keen to exploit it in the ODIs as well. He has already dismissed Iyer once and will look to make the in-form right-hander play a false shot using his raw pace and a barrage of short balls.
#2 Tom Latham vs Kuldeep Yadav
Tom Latham will be back in the New Zealand team for the ODI serie, which will be a huge boost for the hosts, given his incredible ability to dominate spin. Latham has already been a menace for the Men in Blue in the past and will once again be crucial for the Kiwis in the middle overs.
His battle against Kuldeep Yadav could be an interesting one as he has scored 90 runs in the 76 balls that he has faced from the tweaker. However, Kuldeep has also dismissed Latham twice.
This will certainly give both players belief that they can dominate the other and the match-up could be crucial in deciding the course of the game.
#1 Shikhar Dhawan vs Tim Southee
One of the most important match-ups could involve Indian captain Shikhar Dhawan against veteran pacer Tim Southee.
Dhawan generally likes to take his time in ODIs and ease into his innings. However, of late, there have been instances where the southpaw has failed to maintain a healthy strike rate and has been dismissed cheaply.
Dhawan has scored 93 runs in the 84 balls that he has faced from Southee in ODIs. However, Southee has dismissed the stand-in captain twice too.
If the pacer gets some swing early on, Dhawan could be in trouble. However, the southpaw could go on to score big if he gets through the initial phase.