Indian skipper Rohit Sharma won the toss and opted to bat first in the first ODI of the three-match series against New Zealand, which is being played here at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad on Wednesday, 18 January.
The hosts are coming into this series on the back of a comprehensive display against Sri Lanka, wherein they won the T20I series 2-1 before securing a clean sweep in the ODI series. The boys in blue are unbeaten in their last four matches in this format, but the team can ill afford to be complacent, having suffered a surprising series defeat against Bangladesh not very long ago.
There will be no dearth in the visitors’ camp as well, with New Zealand securing a 2-1 ODI series triumph against Pakistan earlier this month. Moreover, they also won the last three-match ODI series against India, which was held in November 2022.
India have won 55 of the previous 113 ODI meetings against the Blackcaps – five more than their opposition, but the last of those victories came way back in 2019. Since then, New Zealand have won five consecutive matches against India, thereby establishing their dominance and closing the gap in terms of statistics.
As for team news, Sharma and Virat Kohli might not be in the fray for T20Is currently, but they still remain India’s trump cards in the 50-over format. The duo will partner in-form batter Shubman Gill in what is a formidable top three for the hosts.
Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj are leading the pace battery, with Shardul Thakur also returning to the side. Besides that, Kuldeep Yadav has also retained his place in the team, having impressed in the series against the Lankans.
Explaining the decision to bat first, Sharma said” We want to make sure we want to bowl under lights and defend score. We did well against Sri Lanka, but this is a different challenge.”
India: Rohit Sharma (c), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Ishan Kishan (w), Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Siraj, Mohammed Shami.
New Zealand: Finn Allen, Devon Conway, Henry Nicholls, Daryl Mitchell, Tom Latham (w/c), Glenn Phillips, Michael Bracewell, Mitchell Santner, Henry Shipley, Lockie Ferguson, Blair Tickner.