India-New Zealand Fifth ODI Preview
India has a great chance to take revenge of the 5-2 thrashing during their last tour to New Zealand in 2003, with the hosts in a dominant 4-0 position in the five match series when they meet tomorrow (10th December).
While India would like to register another win in Chennai with their second string eleven the selectors will watch the dead rubber with interest and New Zealand would like to end the Indian tour with a victory to avoid the ignominy of a whitewash, after a similar fate in Bangladesh.
The MA Chidambaram stadium at Chennai does have runs in its strip. After the rains early on, the groundsmen are doing everything possible to stage the match. The side batting first has an advantage with a lightening-fast outfield under normal conditions. Watch out for a rain-curtailed match, however, as the forecast for Friday is not great.
The last three ODIs at Chennai witnessed wins for the side batting first. The last match was played in 2007, where Asia XI defeated Africa XI by 13 runs, with over 600 runs scored in the day-nighter.
The stand-in captain Gautam Gambhir is in sublime form leading the way with two centuries, with Virat Kohli and Yusuf Pathan producing a ton each.
The Indian bowlers have been right on the mark with their line and length. India's impressive show so far has its reason in their bowlers to snare early wickets.
Bowling at the death - especially from Ashish Nehra, as he was taken for 22 runs in his final over by James Franklin in particular, ending up with match figures of 2 for 70 in his nine overs in the fourth match in Bangalore.
Another opportunity for Rohit Sharma to impress the selectors. He will be ruing the lost opportunity in the last game, after he was dismissed on 44 while Yusuf Pathan scripted an improbable win to bolster his chances of selection in the World Cup squad.
Current Form-New Zealand
The dwindling fortunes seemed to have ended with the New Zealand batsman posting a total in excess of 300 runs for the first time, fuelled by the unexpected hero James Franklin blasting an unbeaten 98 off 69 balls.
The bowling form of the Kiwis has been a problem with their inability to account for early wickets adding to their misery. In the last three ODIs, they have managed to pick up only eight wickets.
The Key Question
Will the Kiwis step up their performance to avoid a 5-nil drubbing, after a treacherous tour of Bangladesh where they surrendered 4-0?
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