Our prediction is that India will defeat New Zealand in the fourth ODI at Seddon Park.
A comprehensive victory for visitors despite New Zealand's best performance in the series sealed the 5-match ODI series for India. Chasing 244 on a slowing surface India showed enough application to manage a win that was a bit tricky if not difficult.
New Zealand followed a similar sorry script at the top of the order winning the toss batting first at Bay Oval. Middle order consolidation by Taylor and Latham put them in a position to launch in the last few overs. However, relentless Indian bowling attack kept the hosts to a below par score.
The slowing pitch and the presence of two quality spinners in the New Zealand squad threatened to make this chase a tough one for India. However, cautious approach by Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli helped set the foundation on which Rayudu and Karthik finished the task for India without any jitters. The series loss might be a good thing for the scrambled New Zealand minds. A chance for them to play freely.
By the end of the third ODI New Zealand managed to play through the innings against an Indian attack. They had their best outing in the series till now but still got defeated comprehensively.
Batting first on a good batting surface the top order yet again failed to provide the foundation for the middle order to build on. Ross Taylor and Tom Latham stuck to the task nonetheless and a valuable partnership of 119, their first 100 plus partnership in the tournament, ensued. However, when the things were looking set for acceleration New Zealand lost wickets at crucial stages managing a below-par score of 243.
If it were the spinners in the earlier games, it was the seamers in this game that pulled India back every time it looked like slipping away. Despite some disciplined bowling by Ish Sodhi and Mitchell Santner India cruised to victory with 7 wickets to spare. Ross Taylor who has been in great form top scored with 96 runs but that proved insufficient against relentless Indians.
Kane Williamson (capt), Trent Boult, Martin Guptill, Lockie Ferguson, Tom Latham (wk), Colin Munro, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor
Trent Boult, Tom Latham, TD Astle, Matt Henry, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, Colin de Grandhomme, KS Williamson, Ross Taylor, Martin Guptill, James Neesham
India cannot put a foot wrong these days. But this is no fluke. There had been enough moments in the third ODI where wicket got difficult to score on and India, especially Rohit and Kohli, were prepared to play the waiting game. And as the pressure eased out they took the chances to make up for the dot balls.
The bowlers are hunting in a pack for India. If Kuldeep doesn't get you, Chahal will. If Bhuvi fails to make an impact Shami will. Pandya coming back in the squad helped as well. Indian bowlers pulled the target by 30-35 runs and the application by the batsmen made the target look like much less than it was.
Kohli is rested for last two ODIs but he made sure India win the series with yet another 50. Shubhman Gill is expected to replace him for the rest of the ODIs. Rohit Sharma will lead the side in Kohli's absence. Dhoni might return back to the squad after an injury break.
Rohit Sharma (c), Vijay Shankar, Ambati Rayudu, Shikhar Dhawan, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Yuzavendra Chahal, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Kuldeep Yadav, Shubhman Gill.
YS Chahal, Khaleel Ahmed, Ambati Rayudu, Dinesh Karthik, Kedar Jadhav, Kuldeep Yadav, Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shikhar Dhawan, Hardik Pandya
Seddon Park in Hamilton is a chasing ground. Traditionally chasing teams have won 60% of the matches at this venue. Initial support for the bowlers goes away as the match progresses.
Thus, the team winning the Toss should look Field first at this venue and play sensibly in the second half in easing conditions to pull the chase off.
India have got better by every match since the loss to Australia in the first ODI. The bowlers are supporting each other the batters look to be in control all the time regardless of the score on the board. New Zealand have issues that need urgent attention. They would wish for a better top order showing in rest of the games. However, there does not seem to a way around this Indian team at this moment.
Thus, our prediction is that India will continue mauling New Zealand by defeating them in the 4th ODI at Seddon Park.
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