India, after being stunned by New Zealand in the first ODI, came back strongly in the second match to make the final game of the series utterly interesting. India will be keen to win yet another ODI series as the "Men in Blue" face Kiwis in the third ODI at Green Park in Kanpur on Sunday (October 29).
Both teams understand about the importance of winner-takes-all contest. A small mistake here or there could be the difference between a series loss and victory. Hence, India and New Zealand, for a start, will pick their strongest playing XIs, capable of playing good cricket to beat their opposition.
India beat New Zealand in the second ODI with a strong all-round team performance, and captain Virat Kohli should stick to the same team. Though the thought of bringing in Kuldeep Yadav may come to his mind, Axar Patel was decent and his batting skills might help him retain his position.
However, there is a serious need for Rohit Sharma to fire as the opener has failed in the series. There is no threat to his position for the third ODI, but continuous failures will pressurise him.
New Zealand played with the same XI in the first two matches of the series, and they could make some changes in Kanpur, after getting a close look of the playing surface. They have been a good bowling unit, but one realised during the last ODI that they would have been better if leg-spinner Ish Sodhi would have been in the XI.
So, one would not be surprised if New Zealand decide to pick the leggie as he will add variety in the attack, which depends mostly on pacers, including Tim Southee and Trent Boult. Sodhi can be brought in for Adam Milne.
Irrespective of the teams, which is picked by both India and New Zealand, the respective players will have to put their best foot forward to clinch the series.
The pitch has a history of being more supportive to the batsmen, and the pacers will have to break their back to get any help from the 22-yard surface. Moreover, it could be a pitch which helps the spinners as the surface could be slow.
It is not a high-scoring venue with 239 being an average first innings score at Green Park.
Probable Playing XIs
India: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli (c), Dinesh Karthik, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (w), Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal.
New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Kane Williamson (c), Ross Taylor, Tom Latham (w), Henry Nicholls, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Trent Boult.
Match starts 1.30 PM IST