India aim to clinch ODI series against New Zealand
Kanpur: Coming from a six-wicket victory, India will look to defeat New Zealand in the third and final One-Day International (ODI) to clinch the series at the Green Park here on Sunday.
The series is currently level at 1-1, with the New Zealand taking lead in the initial match and the hosts levelling things in the second.
India will heavily rely on skipper Virat Kohli to lead the side from the front in the batting department along side opener Shikhar Dhawan, middle-order batsmen Dinesh Karthik and Hardik Panya who have looked in good nick throughout the series.
Batsmen Rohit Sharma, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav will only add further depth to the Indian batting.
In the bowling department, Kohli will fancy including wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav in the playing XI, who belongs from the host venue to impose threat on the opposition. Yadav was replaced by Axar Patel in the previous match.
However, pacers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah will spearhead the bowling attack. Spinners Yuzvendra Chahal, Patel and Yadav along side all-rounder Pandya will look to apply breaks on the Kiwis batting in the middle overs.
New Zealand who started the series on a positive note will look to bounce back and clinch the series under the likes of experienced batsmen Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor.
Middle-order batsman Tom Latham who has proved his mettle in the series will be one of the key in the visitors batting.
In bowling, the Blackcaps will hope experienced pacers Tim Southee and Trent Boult to provide their side with early breakthroughs.
Spinner Mitchell Santner will be the key to halt the flow of runs for India in the middle overs.
Captain Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya were among the five Indian team members who skipped the optional practice session ahead of the series decider against New Zealand here on Sunday.
Left-arm spinner Axar Patel, who played in Pune in place of Kuldeep Yadav, too, did not take part in the afternoon session.
It remains to be seen whether Kohli goes with the same playing XI that played on Wednesday or bring in Yadav in front of his home crowd. The chinaman had a lengthy spell in the nets and so did leggie Yuzvendra Chahal.
Meanwhile, with the series tied at 1-1, New Zealand are more excited than tense at the prospect of winning their maiden ODI series in India here on Sunday, said pacer Tim Southee.
New Zealand came close to winning the series last year before going down 2-3 and now they have another shot at beating the formidable Indians in their own backyard.
"No pressure, it's more excitement I would say. There was an air of excitement around the guys today at training. Obviously, we feel freshened up after the day off on Friday.
The series is on the line tomorrow, (Sunday)" said Southee.
"That's what we play for and like I said, good sides have come here and walked away empty handed. I guess it'll be nice to seal the series here. But India are a tough team in their own conditions as they have shown that over a while," he added.