Winning a series on foreign soil is a matter of pride for any team. New Zealand are in with a chance, as they can create history if they beat MS Dhoni’s men in the final ODI at the ACA-VDCA stadium on Saturday.
However, it has been a case of so-near-yet-so-far for New Zealand on their last few foreign tours. They suffered heartbreak last year when they lost to England and South Africa in the deciding matches of the ODI series.
Kane Williamson’s men are on the cusp of glory and the last thing they want is to be rankled by those two defeats.
“I think the guys are pretty excited to do what no other New Zealand side has done before… come over here and win a one-day series. The excitement in the group is very high. Everyone is really looking forward to tomorrow. It’s been a long tour for some guys and it’ll be nice to finish what’s been a tough tour on a high note. The spirits are high and everyone is excited about the challenge,” said Tim Southee, New Zealand’s most successful pacer in the series.
The Kiwis are playing their fifth bilateral ODI series here and only twice have they come close to upsetting India.
In the 1995-96 series, Lee Germon’s team fought a see-saw battle before losing the decider in Mumbai’s Brabourne Stadium.
In the 1999-2000 series, Stephen Fleming’s men won the first and fourth ODIs to draw level before going down by seven wickets in the final clash at Delhi’s Ferozeshah Kotla.
The Kiwis have fared well in this series, rarely leaving an opportunity to seize the momentum.
Williamson and coach Mike Hesson have also been brilliant in reading the surfaces and tweaking the combination accordingly. They read the conditions well in the last ODI by bringing in three spinners on the slow Ranchi track. The Black Caps were also spot-on with their reading of conditions during the World T20 in India.
“I think it’s just the communication. The batters spend some time in the middle and what they find tough they feed that information to the bowlers. Also vice versa, if we bowl, we give information to the batsmen. Not every time we can get it right. We just give ourselves the best chance to read the conditions and adapt quickly,” said Southee.