IND vs NZ 3rd ODI: This game is anything but a dead rubber!
Virat Kohli would hate to lose today's 3rd ODI against NZ the last match of this series given Team India's recent 5-0 high in the shortest format
Mount Maunganui: The last time India lost all the matches in an ODI series, Virat Kohli had not even made his Ranji Trophy debut.
In fact, only twice before (in the West Indies, 1988-89 and in South Africa, 2006-07) and once at home (against the West Indies, 1983) have India lost all matches in a bilateral series.
Though captain Kohli has claimed that ODIs aren't too relevant this year compared to Tests and T20Is, he would hate to lose the last match of the series especially after the recent 5-0 high in the shortest format.
"Every game is important, not just because are 2-0 down. When you play international cricket, every game matters for every player. It's another opportunity to prove yourself," said pacer Shardul Thakur ahead of the today's third ODI.
Interestingly, though New Zealand have handed India their first series defeat which comes on the back of a successful streak of a dozen series wins since March 2019, the visitors haven't lost a game on this ground, having played here twice before. That makes tonight's fixture anything but a dead rubber. Yesterday, five of the India players (Yuzvendra Chahal, Kedar Jadhav, KL Rahul, Ravindra Jadeja and Prithvi Shaw) did not attend the optional practice session while the likes of Rishabh Pant and Shivam Dube spent a lot of time with the support staff. It will be interesting to see if India decide to give both a game. Pacer Mohammad Shami, who bowled a few overs to the likes of Mayank Agarwal and Dube, is likely to make the playing XI.
On the other hand, NZ have been struggling on the fitness front. Already feeling the absence of Trent Boult, Lockie Ferguson and Matt Henry, the hosts will miss the services of the experienced Tim Southee, their last-match hero. Pacer Scott Kuggleijn and Mitchell Santner will also be unavailable while leg-spinner Ish Sodhi has been summoned from a four-day game against India 'A'. Sodhi played the first ODI and missed the second.
The good thing is that skipper Kane Williamson is fit to play. "It's been great that the guys, who have come in, have done really well. The guys have played great ODI cricket for a while now. It was our first time since the World Cup but the group has played well for a long time. It's nice to have the series done after two games but we are looking forward to the third here," said Southee.
Live on TV
NZ v India, 3rd ODI, Star Sports 1, 07:30
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