India will play New Zealand in their second ODI at the Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh International Stadium in Raipur, on Friday, January 20th. The match is scheduled to begin at 1 pm local time.
The First Match
India won the first match in Hyderabad by 12 runs, the centrepiece of which was an innings of 208 by Shubman Gill. He became not only the fifth Indian to score a double century in the format, but the youngest, beating the record of Ishan Kishan, which was only set last month against Bangladesh.
It helped his team post 349/8 from their 50 overs after they had chosen to bat first after winning the toss.
At one stage it looked like the match would end prematurely when the tourists slumped to 131/6 in their reply. That was before Michael Bracewell and Mitchell Santner came together in a seventh-wicket stand of 162 that briefly threatened to turn the game on its head.
Bracewell was the last man out for 140, with his heroics ultimately in vain.
However, after the canter against Sri Lanka, this was a much tougher test for the Indian players.
India’s winning record
The match in Hyderabad was the 114th ODI match between the two teams, and India have now 56 of them, as opposed to 50 for New Zealand. Only Australia have beaten the Kiwis more times in the format of the game.
Raipur hosts first international match
This will be the first international match to be played at this ground in Raipur.
It has though hosted six Indian T20 league matches in the past, as well as several Champions League T20 games.
Although the majority of Indian pitches favour the batting side, this pitch should offer more assistance to the bowlers. It is likely to slow down as the match progresses, bringing the spinners into play, whilst fast bowlers will need to rely more on variation and bounce rather than raw speed.
And, with the boundaries long, the ball will need to be hit hard and true to reach the ropes.
It is unlikely that the same number of runs that were scored in Hyderabad will be notched up again.
Bowlers may be key
The conditions mean that the attention will fall more on the bowlers this match than the batters.
For India, Mohammed Siraj will be looking to continue his recent resurgence, having taken four wickets in his last two ODIs. And Kuldeep Yadav, at last being given a sustained run in the side, will be licking his lips at the chance to bowl on a favourable pitch.
Shardul Thakur and Washington Sundar were both expensive in Hyderabad, and they will want to tighten up.
For New Zealand, Michael Bracewell was the hero with the bat in the first ODI, but it is with the ball and his off-spin that he could have a big role to play this time.
They also need their pacers to step up, with Tim Southee rested for this tour, and Trent Boult having limited his commitments in international cricket.
Both sides are likely to be unchanged, India will not want to change a winning team, whilst New Zealand will want to give some of those who underperformed on Wednesday another opportunity.
Although the weather on Saturday in Raipur will be dry, it will be a good degree cooler than the temperatures that greeted the teams in Hyderabad, with a high of only 21 degrees Celsius.
India have now won their last five ODIs in a row and they will be keen to keep that sequence going.
In theory they have the stronger batting line-up, but players may need to be patient on this pitch and not take too many risks too early in their innings.
For their part, New Zealand must get more out of their top order. Players like Devon Conway, Glenn Phillips and Daryl Mitchell can all play big innings, but at least one of them needs to produce for their team this time around.
The home team will probably extend their winning run, just because they have the better bowling attack, but it is likely to be another close encounter.
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