India and New Zealand are ready to lock horns in the fourth ODI. India might have lost the opportunity to whitewash New Zealand in the series but the team is surely looking ahead to hold a strong grip in the next two matches. The five-match series is already at 2-1, with India winning two and New Zealand one. After this series, India will also play a bilateral against England. It will have three matches.
The fourth ODI will be decisive for New Zealand. It is the only chance for the visitors to level the match and pose a challenging stance against India. In the last two years, New Zealand faced two whitewashes from India. Also, India won only against New Zealand in any bilateral tournament in these years. The top batting order has become the prime concern for the visitors. Although Tom Latham has been consistent, he finds good partnership only down the middle order.
In all the past ODIs, New Zealand displayed a weak batting stance, lacking strong score. India's bowlers have been maintaining a good pressure throughout the series on New Zealand. In the Test series preceding the ODIs, seam bowler Ashwin routed the team, while in the ODIs, both fast bowlers and spinners are striking the attacks. Top batsman Martin Guptill, Corey Anderson and Luke Ronchi have not put up a good resistance against the bowlers.
In Team India as well, the opener batsmen could not deliver any substantial inning. Rohit Sharma who came for the ODI and Ajinkya Rahane played weak in the last matches. Former bowler, Ajit Agarkar also pointed out that the batting order seem to rely much on Virat Kohli. His concern seems genuine as the other batsman down the line have been inconsistent. Kohli has played extremely sturdy innings in last two ODIs scoring almost half of India's total score. In the last ODI, MS Dhoni delivered a good strike after a hiatus. The top and the middle order would need to become stronger for India. Although the stance so far has been good, but the faith of second ODI might repeat if the players do not keep up a good strike. It is worth mentioning that Kohli was down at paltry runs in the second match that India lost, proving the substance in Agarkar's perspective.
The stronghold for India has been the bowling front. The new bowlers in the team are emerging as reliable bets for the team. Umesh Yadav, Amit Mishra and Axar Patel substituted well for Aswin and Ravindra Jadeja. Meanwhile, Hardik Pandya and Kedar Jadhav revealed themselves as new all-rounders in the team. In the last ODI, the players delivered imperative scores to win the matches.
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