India look for consolatory answers in final ODI against New Zealand
Their morale dented after losing the series, India would be desperate to salvage some lost pride by notching their maiden win on the tour when they take on a sprightly New Zealand in the fifth and final cricket one-dayer in Wellington. Full coverage: India in New ZealandUpdated: Jan 30, 2014 14:03 IST
Their morale dented after losing the series, India would be desperate to salvage some lost pride by notching their maiden win on the tour when they take on a sprightly New Zealand in the fifth and final cricket one-dayer in Wellington on Thursday.
The Men in Blue have lost much in the past two weeks, in lieu of a 3-0 series loss as also the climb-down from their number one ODI ranking.
The visitors lost the first ODI in Napier by 24 runs, then went down in Hamilton by 15 runs, tied the third ODI in Auckland, but lost the fourth in Hamilton by seven wickets to squander the series.
At the Westpac Stadium on Friday then, they will be playing for more than just pride.
A consolation win will mean that the series will end at 3-1 rather than 4-0, the latter a very embarrassing score-line if it indeed comes to pass.
Even so, victory will only restore so much respectability for the reigning world champions, considering how awfully wrong things have gone for MSD and his team ever since they stepped out of home in early December.
In seven ODIs since, they are yet to win a single match, losing five and tying one (one no-result).
If they indeed want to register their first win across all formats in nearly two months, they need to view this fifth ODI in singularity and not as part of the already lost contest.
The fourth ODI at Seddon Park was a must-win game to keep the series alive, but India were not up to the mark. In a desperate bid to come back in the series, they made a plethora of changes, and most of them didn't work out as intended.
If the Wellington ODI is considered a one-off match, then the team think-tank will be able to address the various issues that have arisen in the last two limited-overs series that they have played here, and in South Africa previously.
There are many questions that need to be answered and as always it begins at the top.
In his post-match comments, after the fourth ODI loss, Dhoni had stated the need to "rest players and allow them time to think about their game", thus justifying the double-dropping of Shikhar Dhawan and Suresh Raina.
First Published: Jan 30, 2014 10:54 IST