Going into the second one-dayer against India at Jaipur, New Zealand which is down 0-1 in the series, has some good news to bank on. Their captain Daniel Vettori, a benchwarmer in the last match due to a sore back, returns to the side in fit and fine condition. However, opener Brendon McCullum, who also missed the last game, is not likely to play. He is still nursing a back injury, and with allrounder Jesse Ryder back home with a groin strain and pace bowler Daryl Tuffey set to join him with a strained bicep, the Kiwis woes are complete.
New Zealand desperately needs an aggressive and stable player in McCullum at the top of the order. The side in recent times, and especially on Sunday, missed the fire-power to give it a suitable start to its innings. A lot of the burden of setting a total or chasing the same therefore falls on the shoulders of the gritty middle and latter order, who ultimately find the task too hot to handle.
Ross Taylor, riding on the back of a fluent and fighting 66 in the last game, emerges as the key man for New Zealand. Martin Guptill will have to further his exploits at the top of the order, while Kane Williamson can perhaps add some substance and stability in the middle overs. But Nathan McCullum and Kyle Mills who are primarily bowlers, will hope that the onus of finishing off the match doesn't fall on them, as what occurred on Sunday.
There were quite a few positives for India to draw from the first game. Virat Kohli seems to be in blistering form and is quite simply on a roll. So India would look to him as the chief run-getter again. R Ashwin emerged as a force to reckon with, spinning the ball deceptively to fatally beguile three Kiwi batsmen during power plays. However, Sreesanth, who also returned with three wickets, struggled with the new ball. One hopes he will be able to keep a tab on his bloating economy rate. Meanwhile, Raina is due for some runs after being on a poor run with the bat.
The pitch at Jaipur has a reputation of being slow, but the bigger worry is the dew factor as the evening sets in. Gautam Gambhir said. "The wicket appears to be on the slower side and it might a spin a bit. We could [play an extra spinner]. Because it looks a little dry, it might spin if we bowl first."
New Zealand (probable): 1 Jamie How, 2 Martin Guptill, 3 Ross Taylor, 4 Scott Styris, 5 Kane Williamson, 6 Grant Elliott / James Franklin, 7 Daniel Vettori (capt), 8 Gareth Hopkins (wk), 9 Nathan McCullum, 10 Kyle Mills, 11 Andy McKay
India (probable): 1 M Vijay, 2 Gautam Gambhir (capt), 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Yuvraj Singh, 5 Suresh Raina, 6 Yusuf Pathan, 7 Ravindra Jadeja , 8 Wriddiman Saha (wk), 9 Ashwin, 10 Sreesanth / Munaf Patel, 11 Ashish Nehra