India poised to complete 5-0 routBy IANS
Thursday, December 9, 2010
CHENNAI - A battered and bruised New Zealand, trailing 0-4, will hope for a reprieve when they take on India in the fifth and final match of the ODI series here Friday.
The series has turned out to be one of the most one-sided contests in recent times. The Kiwis look hopelessly lost and clueless against a half-strength Indians who have been flawless in the past fortnight.
India skipper Gautam Gambhir had said that despite clinching the series, he would yet go in with everything he has with an eye on a 5-0 win. If the rains stop and the outfield dries up, his wish could come true.
The M.A. Chidambaram Stadium, venue for Fridays game, is undergoing a major facelift cum renovation in preparation for next years World Cup. It boasts of excellent drainage, but it remains to be seen whether it will receive enough sunshine in the next 36 hours for the outfield to dry.
To say that the Kiwis face an uphill task is to stress the obvious. The New Zealand bowling was cruelly exposed in Bangalore as it was at Vadodara where India won to take an unbeatable 3-0 lead. Under the circumstances, it is debatable whether the Kiwis can bounce back.
The Kiwi bowlers have taken a mere eight wickets in three matches, including five in Bangalore where India chased down a target of 316. The home batsmen notched up a century in each of the four games thus far as against none by the visitors.
That speaks volumes for Indias dominance despite the absence of some frontline players being rested ahead of the South Africa tour beginning next week. It also reflects the poor challenge the Kiwis have posed in the series.
New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori will have plenty to explain about his teams tepid performance in the one-day series that also serves as a key warm-up tour for next years World Cup to be held in the sub-continent.
Fridays game holds only academic interest and it matters little whether the weather conditions would permit a full game or not. Chennai is just emerging from a weeklong soaking from the monsoon that is far from over.
The day/night game is scheduled for a 2.30 p.m. start.
India: Gautam Gambhir (captain), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Zaheer Khan, Munaf Patel, Yusuf Pathan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ashish Nehra, Praveen Kumar, Parthiv Patel, Yuvraj Singh, Saurabh Tiwari and Murali Vijay.
New Zealand: Daniel Vettori (captain), James Franklin, Brendon McCullum, Nathan McCullum, Gareth Hopkins, Jamie How, Martin Guptill, Grant Elliott, Kyle Mills, Kane Williamson, Daryl Tuffey, Andy McKay, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor and Jesse Ryder.