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NZ seek confidence boost against India

New Zealand will seek a confidence-boosting victory in their fourth one-day international against India on Saturday, after losing the series 3-0 this week. New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori said that his team refused to see Auckland ODI as a lost cause.

cricket Updated: Mar 13, 2009 14:21 IST

New Zealand will seek a confidence-boosting victory in their fourth one-day international against India on Saturday, after losing the series 3-0 this week.

New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori said that his team, which starts a three-Test series against India in Hamilton on Wednesday, refused to see Saturday’s game in Auckland as a lost cause.

“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,” Vettori told reporters.

“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 said.

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 enemy number one 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 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.