New Zealand still hold the edge with a 2-0 lead over India in their one-day international series. The second ODI ended in a tie, and the two teams will slog it out in Hamilton on Tuesday in a must-win clash for India.
What: New Zealand vs. India, fourth ODI
Venue: Seddon Park, Hamilton
When: Tuesday , Jan. 28
Start time: 1 a.m. GMT/2 p.m. local time
Live on: Sky Sport NZ, Sky Sports 3 UK
Weather: As it stands, AccuWeather has given Hamilton the all-clear for Tuesday. It will be relatively mild with temperatures of around 23 degrees Celsius but no rain to ruin the party.
As far as one-day series go, this one has been one of the most exciting in recent memory. The series has been well contested with New Zealand pushing India to the edge at every opportunity. India fought back and very nearly managed to come out on top in the last game, but once again, their stuttering top order let them down.
It was the usual suspects of Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni who helped India out of trouble in the third ODI, but this time, they had a third musketeer join them in their quest. Ravi Jadeja proved with his lower order prowess that he is a handy all-rounder to have on the team.
Meanwhile, New Zealand continue to impress as a unit, and Corey Anderson and other relatively new faces turn up and play their part almost every single time. The balance of the side is good, and the morale appears to be booming. If the Black Caps can harness some of that adrenaline and translate it into big match temperament, they should wrap up the series in Hamilton. They also need to find some calmness and serenity; their bursts toward the latter part of the innings have often resulted in punnets of wickets falling instead of turning strong platforms into insurmountable ones.
The sides have already played in Hamilton, and the pitch is likely to be quite sluggish. Batting first will be the best approach, and with no rain to worry about, teams can relax and focus on simply getting ahead in the game.
India's added motivation is that if they manage to square the series, they will regain their No. 1 ranking in ODIs. Rankings in the shortest format of the game might not matter all that much, but for the 2011 World Cup winners, it certainly carries some weight.
Brendon McCullum's captaincy has been solid in this series, but his batting efforts have been poor. He's scored two ducks in a row now and will not want a dip in form to become a trough. If his top order batsmen can all chip in, he'll have the freedom to play without needing to panic-score.
Ravi Jadeja plays best when his confidence is up, and it has slowly grown since the first ODI. His effort of an unbeaten 66 with the bat and two for 47 with the ball in the third ODI will almost certainly motivate him to do more of the same.
Martin Guptill, Jesse Ryder, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Brendon McCullum (c), Corey Anderson, Luke Ronchi (w), Nathan McCullum, Tim Southee, Kyle Mills, Mitchell McClenaghan, James Neesham, Hamish Bennett
Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (w/c), Ajinkya Rahane, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Stuart Binny, Ishwar Pandey, Varun Aaron, Ambati Rayudu, Amit Mishra
Squads and statistics via CricInfo.
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