Sports

Ind vs NZ: Hosts India to lock horns with Black Caps in 1st ODI at Mumbai

New Delhi, Oct 21: India who have been all dominant in the domestic leg of the ODI season this year shall start as overwhelming favourites when they take on New Zealand in a three-match ODI series, starting in Mumbai from Sunday.

The Indians look to be a confident lot after handing the Australians a comprehensive thrashing earlier this month. The Black Caps will have to put up something really spectacular to beat the Indian in their own den.

Banking on settled batting and bowling combinations with most of the columns ticked, the hosts appear to be too well- groomed a unit for the comfort of the visitors.

Although India suffered a resounding loss to South Africa on a belter of a track at this very venue three seasons ago, they went on to win three series on the trot in their backyard and are now a force to reckon with in the upcoming series.

In fact, since surrendering to Australia back in 2009-10, India have lost only to Pakistan (2012) and South Africa in 16 bilateral rubbers, a clear indication of how dominant they have been in familiar conditions.

Considering that the 4-1 result over Australia was achieved without skipper Virat Kohli being in top form and despite the absence of prolific opener Shikhar Dhawan, it was a huge achievement.

Vice-captain Rohit Sharma scored 296 runs, including a century and two fifties at an average just below 60. The ever-dependable Ajinkya Rahane hit 244 runs that included four half-centuries, while all-rounder Hardik Pandya amassed 222 runs. The ever-reliable Mahendra Singh Dhoni had a subdued time with the bat against Australia.

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