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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Schedule of India vs New Zealand 2009 Series

(This entry was originally posted on Thursday, February 19th, 2009)

Following a successful tour of Sri Lanka, Indian cricket team is heading towards New Zealand for a full-fledged tour starting from 25 February. There will be 3 test, 5 ODI and 2 Twenty20 matches in the series. India will be full of confident to take on host New Zealand on the back of their excellent performance in the recent past. Since losing the Asia Cup final at the hands of Sri Lanka, India defeated Australia and England at home before pulling off a 4-1 ODI series victory in Sri Lanka recently. New Zealand also seems to be in good condition after their domination over world champion Australia in the recent ODI series held in Australia. Though the series ended up 2-2, New Zealand was considerably the better side in the series and they were unfortunate to not be able to retain the Chappell- Hadlee series. So, cricket fans of both sides are expecting an exciting series.

Stretching back to India’s last tour of New Zealand, I must say that Indian team struggled against the home side both in the test and ODI series. India even failed to show a little bit of resistance against the home side. As far as I can remember, most of the matches were low scoring. Star-studded Indian batting line up totally failed to live up to the expectation as New Zealand pacers utilized every bit offered by the pitch and condition. New Zealand wickets are always helpful to the pacers and offer lots of swing and movement.

Well, you might claim that Indian team is currently in good shape and has been winning matches consistently over the last few months. Yes, I agree with you and would like to put some optimism for Team India to do well in the upcoming New Zealand. Having said that, most of the current members of Indian cricket team have no previous experience of playing in New Zealand and are not acquainted with the New Zealand condition. For example, among the current Indian pacers, only Zaheer Khan played in their last tour to New Zealand. I think, this inexperience could definitely be decisive in the upcoming series.

For New Zealand, they always have an edge over the sub-continental teams whenever they face them at home. New Zealand always uses their home advantage to the fullest to outperform the visiting teams from sub-continent. Last time, they took on a sub-continental team at home was Bangladesh who totally failed to show any bit of resistance throughout the tour. Well, I know New Zealand’s domination over Bangladesh does not indicate anything significant considering the fact that Bangladesh is not a cricket power in world cricket. However, indicating Bangladesh’s tour, I want to show that New Zealand team, who were already depleted in the absence of some key players like Shane Bond, could successfully capitalized on the home condition and utilized everything offered by the wickets. This is something would be very crucial for New Zealand pacers in the upcoming series too if they want to continue their dominance over visiting teams from South Asia. There is no doubt that the current New Zealand team is nowhere close to the team they had even 2-3 years back, as they lost a number of key players like Shane Bond, Nathan Astle, Stephen Fleming, Chris Harris, Chris Cairns over the last couple of years. Still, they have a balanced squad that played excellently well in Australia.

Indian pacers especially Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma have built up a fearsome new-ball attack in the recent months. Both of them played a significant role behind India’s recent successes, while their opening pair comprising of Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir has been showing considerable success with sheer consistency since last year’s tour of Sri Lanka. In the middle order, Yuvraj Singh will have a big role to play both in the test and ODI series, and there will be huge expectation among the Indian fans from the left hander, given his recent form as evidence. Captain Dhoni has been in excellent form too and has already become a reliable batsman in the middle order. Players like Sachin, Sehwag and Laxman have huge experience with them and are expected to help the young members in the squad.

Overall, considering the recent performances of the two sides, I think, the upcoming series will have some closely-fight matches and neither side would find it too easy to break the opposition. Here, I am giving the schedule of India’s tour of New Zealand from Cricinfo:

Date

Match

Competitive Teams

Time

Venue

25 Feb 2009

Wed

(D/N)

1st T20

New Zealand vs India

Local

19:00

GMT

06:00

AMI Stadium, Christchurch

27 Feb 2009

Fri

(D/N)

2nd T20

New Zealand vs India

Local 19:00

GMT 06:00

Westpac Stadium, Wellington

3 March 2009

Tue

(D/N)

1st ODI

New Zealand vs India

Local 14:00 GMT 01:00

McLean Park, Napier

6 March 2009

Fri

(D/N)

2nd ODI

New Zealand vs India

Local 14:00 GMT 01:00

Westpac Stadium, Wellington

8 March 2009

Sun

(D/N)

3rd ODI

New Zealand vs India

Local 14:00 GMT 01:00

AMI Stadium, Christchurch

11 March 2009

Wed

(D/N)

4th ODI

New Zealand vs India

Local 14:00 GMT 01:00

Seddon Park, Hamilton

14 March

2009

Sat

(D/N)

5th ODI

New Zealand vs India

Local 14:00 GMT 01:00

Eden Park, Auckland

18-22 March

2009

Wed-Sun

1st Test

New Zealand vs India

Local 11:00 GMT 22:00

Seddon Park, Hamilton

26-30 March

2009

Thu-Mon

2nd Test

New Zealand vs India

Local 10:30 GMT 21:30

McLean Park, Napier

3-7 April

2009

Fri-Tue

3rd Test

New Zealand vs India

Local 10:30 GMT 21:30

Basin Reserve, Wellington

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