India entered 2020 determined to make changes to their T20 game and improve their record with the T20 World Cup taking place later this year. The men in blue did exactly that and have had a great start to 2020 winning T20 series against Sri Lanka, the West Indies and recently 5-0 against New Zealand.
It looks like their focus on T20 cricket has hurt their ODI cricket as the Indians now find themselves 2-0 down against the Kiwis. India has already conceded the three match ODI series against New Zealand and will now be playing for pride and avoid an embarrassing series defeat.
India Still Betting Favourites
The third ODI takes place on Feb 11 at Mount Maunganui and strangely India continue to remain betting favourites even though they have lost two ODIs in succession. India has odds of 1.60 to the Kiwis who have odds of 2.60 to win. While India remain the betting favourites, it is hard to see a different result in the third ODI without India changing their plans.
India cannot afford to go into the third and final ODI with the same strategy and hope the Kiwis have a bad day as it looks like the Kiwis are gaining momentum with each win. It will be up to head coach Ravi Shastri and captain Virat Kohli to put their heads together and see if they can outwit the Kiwis.
Should KL Rahul Get A Promotion
One of the main reasons why India has struggled in the last two ODIs is because they are working with two inexperienced openers. Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal have immense talent but getting them to fill the shoes of Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan is a big ask and so far they haven’t delivered.
Now Kohli and Shastri might decide to give them one more opportunity to see if they click but if they fail again, it will be strike one against India heading into the 2 match test series as the confidence of these two batsmen will be shaken.
The better idea for the third ODI is to get KL Rahul to step up and take up one of the opening slots. Kohli said at the start of the series he was reluctant to have KL Raul open and keep wicket as it would be too tiring for him. However, with just one ODI to go, India might have to experiment and get KL Rahul at the top of the order, especially if they get to bat first.
Mohammad Shami did not have a great game in the first ODI and was replaced with Navdeep Saini in the second. Saini needs to play the third ODI but India should think about bringing back Shami in place of Shardul Thakur.
Kiwis Will Want To Keep Momentum Going Against India
The Kiwis are not going to take their foot of the gas in the third ODI as they will want to continue their winning momentum and finish with a 3-0 series whitewash. The win will help them deflate India to some extend as they prepare for the test series. One of their main plans will be to dismiss the two openers early as it not only sets them up for victory in the third ODI but also gives them a mental edge over the openers.
Kohli Will Need To Lead From The Front
Kohli has shown that he is not a captain who likes to give excuses for losing. He needs to have a big game at Mount Maunganui and lead from the front if India are going to win. A winning knock for Kohli will do wonders for the team and for his own confidence as the first test starts on 21 Feb.