PUNE - When Australia broke India's joint-longest winning streak (of nine matches) in One-Day Internationals in Bangalore last month, there was not too much for Virat Kohli and Co. to fret about. It was only India’s fifth loss in 23 ODIs this year, and the result merely reduced the scoreline to 3-1, the host having already clinched the five-match series.

New Zealand, however, would have left India pretty unsettled after stunning it by six wickets to win the first of three ODIs in Mumbai on Sunday, thus taking a 1-0 lead. It has made the second contest, in Pune on Wednesday (October 25), a must-win encounter for India, and opened up a great chance for New Zealand to seal its maiden series win in India.

The switch between the batting positions of Colin Munro and Tom Latham worked really well for New Zealand in the first match. While Munro, opening the innings for the first time in his career, survived a few scares against the swing of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah to see off the early attack from the Indians, Latham used his prowess against spin to partner Ross Taylor in countering the threat posed by Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal in the middle overs.

It was clear that the visiting side had closely tracked India's successful strategies against Australia. The batsmen made sure there wasn't a middle-order collapse, intelligently combining defence and aggression to eventually scale down the 281-run target with ease. Latham in particular made great use of the sweep shot to rack up the runs, something that the Indians would have taken notice of.

“We have taken a good look at the videos to see how they played the sweeps and things like that," Bharat Arun, India's bowling coach, revealed on the eve of the second match. "So definitely the plans would change for these batsmen." New Zealand would have left India pretty unsettled after stunning it by six wickets to win the first of three ODIs in Mumbai New Zealand would have left India pretty unsettled after stunning it by six wickets to win the first of three ODIs in Mumbai

Latham's century and Taylor's grit were the highlights for New Zealand, but it was its bowling attack that troubled India early on. Trent Boult, especially, was brilliant from the word go, removing the dangerous opening pair of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma inside the first six overs.

Had it not been for Kohli, who knuckled down to score his 31st hundred in ODIs, India could have found it difficult to even get past 250. Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Hardik Pandya all got starts, but were unable to convert them to big knocks with Boult and Tim Southee getting breakthroughs at regular intervals.

To be fair to the Indians, the Wankhede Stadium pitch, traditionally known to favour the batsmen, played very differently in the first half, offering uneven bounce and making it hard for stroke play. Tracks laid out at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune are generally batting-friendly, but then again, it could well turn out to be another surprise.

The last time Pune hosted an ODI, India, riding on an electric fifth-wicket stand of 200 between Kohli and Jadhav, chased down a 351-run target set by England in January this year. The 37,000-odd fans expected to fill the stands will hope for a similar run-fest and a result, but the stakes involved are guaranteed to make it an enthralling contest in any case.


INDIA: Virat Kohli (capt), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni (wk), H Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Y Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shardul Thakur, Ajinkya Rahane, M Pandey, Axar Patel.

NEW ZEALAND: Kane Williamson (capt), Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham (wk), H Nicholls, Adam Milne, Colin Munro, G Phillips, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, George Worker, Ish Sodhi.

Match starts at 1:00 pm