India and New Zealand fight for No 1 ODI ranking in Indore

Hosts could rest key players with series already in the bag, ahead of Australia Test series

India's Mohammed Siraj, left, celebrates the dismissal of New Zealand's Henry Nicholls, right, during the second ODI in Raipur. AP
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India completed yet another home series victory after crushing New Zealand by eight wickets in the second ODI in Raipur on Saturday, and there will be an even bigger prize waiting for them on Tuesday when they face the Kiwis in the third and final match.

The Indore ODI won't affect the outcome of the series but will still carry a lot of significance for both teams. The biggest incentive is the top ranking in ODIs, which will be on the line when the teams lock horns at the Holkar Stadium. Both sides are tied on 113 points, along with England, at the top of the table and whoever wins the third game will take the No 1 spot.

Apart from the rankings, both Rohit Sharma and Tom Latham's teams have other areas of priority. For India, the game is a chance for players who missed the first two matches to get an outing. Batsman Rajat Patidar could make his international debut, while fast bowler Umran Malik is expected to inject pace into the attack.

Also, since the four-match Test series between India and Australia begins early next month, a few other regular players in the XI could be given a rest.

The Black Caps, on the other hand, will be looking to end the series on a positive note after the thrashing they received in the second game and head of the three-match T20 series.

The visitors are without star batsman Kane Williamson and pace spearheads Tim Southee and Trent Boult. Their absences have affected he team balance greatly, especially in the bowling department, and are reflected in the results.

In Raipur, New Zealand were blown away by a sensational new-ball spell by Mohammad Shami and Mohammad Siraj as they were shot out for 108 runs - their third lowest score against India, who chased down the target in 20 overs.

Captain Sharma praised the effort of India's quicks in the absence of veteran quick Jasprit Bumrah.

"These last five games [including three against Sri Lanka], bowlers have really stepped up," Rohit said.

"You expect that kind of bowling, that kind of seam movement outside India. But these guys have got a lot of skills, they have been working on that for all this while and you could see the reward."

Updated: January 23, 2023, 9:12 AM