A couple of wonderful cameos from Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin, known more for their prowess with the ball, kept India in the series by the skin of their teeth on Saturday. So, after losing the first two one-day internationals, and then tieing the third one-dayer, India will look to go one better when they take on New Zealand in the 4th ODI at Seddon Park in Hamilton on Tuesday.
Where to Watch Live
The game is scheduled for a 2 pm local time (6.30 am IST) start with live coverage on Sony Six and Sony Six HD in India and Star Sport in New Zealand. The match can be watched via free live streaming online in India HERE. Catch the action in New Zealand HERE, while Africa viewers can do the same HERE. Viewers in the US can live stream the match HERE, while UK viewers can catch all the action live online HERE.
The first three ODIs have been pretty much the same - New Zealand bat first, put up an imposing, if not unreachable, total, before India huff and puff and threaten to blow the house down but fall just short.
"The big thing for us was to stay alive in this series," Dhoni said after the dramatic tie in Auckland on Saturday. "This game could have gone either way at that point. It seemed we needed hard work and application to win from there and Jadeja and Ashwin batted really well to take us to where we are and keep us alive.
"I think we would have loved to win the game. But at the same time, most important thing is being alive in the series and that's what this tie does to us. We should have lost the game from 140-odd down for five-six.
"Once the kind of partnership we got we should have won from there. But it didn't go our way. In the end tie was a good one because good cricket was played and bad cricket was also played by both sides. That is the reason we are on even terms. We can't win the series but we can hold it to a draw.
"Yet again there were instances where we could have packed up the game in our favour. It's important to avail those. So far we have not done that in this series. Hopefully we can do that in the coming two matches."
Jadeja's return to some semblance of batting form is a big plus, after the left-hander slugged his way to a half-century under big pressure to take India to within a run of their first victory in the tour.
"Hopefully he gets more confidence out of this," Dhoni said. "He has been very consistent in bowling and hopefully will contribute more in terms of batting. The kind of talent he has we have seen in the domestic circuit, loads of big hundreds. Just that he will have to get his thinking right. And this innings will help him."
But then, India cannot always expect batsmen from their lower middle-order to bail them out every time. The openers - Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma -- after two disappointing outings in the first two ODI, got off to a decent start in the third ODI only to throw away their wickets. Virat Kohli cannot always be expected to score that big hundred in a chase, either, and one of Rohit or Dhawan needs to step up to the plate in the fourth ODI.
For New Zealand, it will be about going at the Indian batsmen with a little more vigour, especially in the middle and final overs. Once India gained some momentum in the third ODI, the Kiwi bowlers just seemed to shrink a little.
The batsmen have done wonderfully well this series, however, and if skipper Brendon McCullum also finds some form with the willow, then the always-struggling-and-can't-seem-to-restrict-the-batsmen India bowlers could be in for a hiding of even larger proportions.
Team news: New Zealand: Hamish Bennett performed quite well in the 3rd ODI, finishing with figures of 10-2-41-2, which should help the fast bowler keep his place at the expense of Kyle Mills. The Kiwis are not expected to make too many changes to their XI, with the series still undecided.
India: Dhoni will be keen to go with the same side yet again, with Suresh Raina's injured elbow not thought to be serious enough to keep him out of the playing XI. Varun Aaron did not exactly set the world on fire with his comeback match, going for 52 in seven overs, but the fast bowler might be persisted for another match.
Expected lineups: New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Jesse Ryder, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Brendon McCullum, Corey Anderson, Luke Ronchi, Nathan McCullum, Mitchell McClenaghan, Tim Southee, Hamish Bennett.
India: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Varun Aaron.
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