MOHALI, Oct 22: Stung by an improved New Zealand the other night, a wary India would like to quickly get their house in order when they square off with Kane Williamson�s boys in the third ODI, here tomorrow.
While the six-run defeat in Delhi has given India plenty to ponder about, it has also renewed interest in the contest which had been dominated by the home team prior to Thursday, stretching from the one-sided Test series to the first ODI in Dharamsala.
From a New Zealand point of view, a victory was all that they needed after a string of deflating defeats. As a result of their first win on Indian soil in 13 years, one can expect a certain spring in the stride of the visitors when they take the field at the PCA Stadium here.
India, on the other hand, can only blame themselves for suffering a rude shock after failing to chase down a 243-run target, a total they were expected to overhaul with little difficulty.
As captain MS Dhoni put it, the hosts would have won the game had some of their batsmen had made an extra 10-15 runs instead of getting out at crucial junctures.
Ajinkya Rahane, who has got the opportunity to cement his place in the ODI side in the absence of injured Shikhar Dhawan, squandered starts in both the games while opening alongside Rohit Sharma, who would also be keen to be back among the runs after a couple of failures.
Rohit had hurt his biceps during the last game but there hasn�t yet been any news about the extent or seriousness of the injury.
Number four Manish Pandey also need to make an impact after he too could not capitalise on promising starts. In fact, most batsmen got their eye in at Kotla before throwing their wicket away, hurting India�s chances badly.
One of them was number six Kedar Jadhav, who impressed with his 41-run cameo and shared a 66-run fifth wicket stand with Dhoni. Had he been alongside Dhoni for another three-four overs, the outcome of the game could have been different.
Jadhav may get another game tomorrow as there is still no update on Suresh Raina�s health.
With most batsmen not showing the required maturity to bail the team out of a tricky situation, it would be a tad unfair to only point fingers at Dhoni, who was made to work hard for his 39 before falling to a brilliant return catch by Tim Southee.
The Indian skipper, who is clearly past his prime but his countless fans would be hoping for another �Dhoni� special in the games to come, considering the team plays only a few limited overs matches during this home season.
Interestingly, in the last ODI played here three years ago, Dhoni had smashed an unbeaten 139, albeit in a losing cause against Australia. He is yet to score an international hundred since then.
Last but not the least, India�s batting mainstay Virat Kohli will be expected to showcase his masterclass yet again after getting out to a brilliant leg-side catch by Luke Ronchi on Thursday.
In his last international match at this ground on March 27, Kohli had famously hammered 82 off 51 balls against Australia to singlehandedly take India into the World T20 semifinals. The local crowd would certainly be hoping for an encore.
The dew at thirds time of the year, will be a factor again, just like it was in Delhi and Dharamsala. With the home team having won all the tosses so far, the bowlers have done a decent job bowing first. � PTI
India: MS Dhoni (captain and wk), Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Amit Mishra, Axar Patel, Umesh Yadav, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jayant Yadav, Mandeep Singh
New Zealand: Kane Williamson (captain), Tom Latham, Martin Guptill, Ross Taylor, Luke Ronchi (wk), Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Jimmy Neesham, Corey Anderson, Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Anton Devcich, Doug Bracewell, Matt Henry, BJ Watling.
Match start: 1.30 pm