Black caps , India battle for momentum

13 03 2009

New Zealand are looking for a confidence-boosting victory in their fifth one-day international against India on Saturday.New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori insists that his team refuse to see Saturday’s game in Auckland as a lost cause, despite the visitors already claiming victory in the series.

“This is a momentum game for us before the Tests — we don’t want to go down 4-0, we want to win a game and give our one-day side the credibility it deserves,” said Vettori. “We’ve played well for a while now, though in this series we haven’t showed that against a team that’s been a lot better than us in most disciplines,” he added.New Zealand’s chances of drawing the one-day series disappeared in Wednesday’s rain-disrupted match in Hamilton, which India won by 84 runs under the Duckworth-Lewis system after scoring 201-0.

In a team stacked with batting stars, India’s opener Virender Sehwag is New Zealand’s number one enemy after he plundered an unbeaten 125 from 74 balls in Hamilton.He reached three figures in 60 balls, the seventh fastest one-day century of all time and the quickest by an Indian player.So far in the one-day series he has hit 259 runs at an average of 86.33, with a strike rate of more than a run and a half from each ball faced.

New Zealand’s bowlers have appeared powerless to contain Sehwag, but Vettori says the 30-year-old batsman is not invincible.”If we get it in the right areas, we can trouble him and we can stop him from scoring,” Vettori said.
“We keep imploring the bowlers to make sure they hit the right areas, and if they do, then good things happen.”

New Zealand have named the same 12 players for the Auckland game but India may give a chance to some squad members who have missed out on the action. Left-arm spinner Pragyan Ohja may be included for the first time, along with pace bowler Irfan Pathan, who has not played since last month’s Twenty20 matches.

Batting star Sachin Tendulkar is again unlikely to play Saturday, after aggravating a bruised abdomen which forced him to retire hurt after scoring 163 in the third one-dayer in Christchurch. However, the “Little Master” is expected to be fit again when the teams return to Hamilton Wednesday for the first of the three Tests.

India coach Gary Kirsten said discussions had taken place with regards to resting a few players ahead of the Test series, but final decisions will only be made on the morning of the match. “We would be tempted [to make changes] but we also want to make sure we keep the momentum going,” Kirsten said. “I think it’s important on a tour to set yourself up to win games of cricket on a consistent level, and momentum is very important on a tour, so we haven’t made a decision. We have spoken about it a little bit.”

Squads:

New Zealand: Jesse Ryder, Brendon McCullum, Martin Guptill, Ross Taylor, Jacob Oram, Peter McGlashan (wk), Grant Elliott, Daniel Vettori (capt), Ewen Thompson, Scott Styris, Kyle Mills, Iain O’Brien, Jeetan Patel.

India: Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt & wk), Rohit Sharma, Yusuf Pathan, Praveen Kumar, Harbhajan Singh, Ishant Sharma, Zaheer Khan, Dinesh Karthik, Munaf Patel, Pragyan Ojha, Irfan Pathan, Rohit Sharma, Sachin Tendulkar.

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