New Delhi, Oct 19: Team India would be looking to maintain their domination over New Zealand as the two teams face each other in the second ODI rubber at Delhi's Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium on Thursday (Oct 20).
After outclassing the Black Caps in every department of the game in the first ODI at Dharamsala, Men In Blue would be hoping to continue the winning streak and register yet another convincing victory over visitors.
MS Dhoni & Co. are sweating it out in the nets to get accustomed to the conditions at Kolta and take a 2-0 lead over guests.
In the last 6 matches they have played, India were unbeaten at the Feroz Shah Kotla. The team's last defeat at this venue came against Pakistan in 2005. But, that's a thing of the past.
India will miss their most experienced middle order batsman in Suresh Raina at Delhi too. Raina hasn't recovered completely from the viral fever, which kept him out in the first ODI as well.
But a question which is now crossing, perhaps, every mind is what will be Team India's playing combination at Delhi?
Since, the Kotla pitch has favoured the spinners and with dew factor playing a major role in the second half of the match, both the teams would be keeping it in mind and planning accordingly.
Skipper MS Dhoni, who is generally in favour of not disturbing the winning combination, might not make any changes in the final playing eleven. But the pitch conditions at Kotla are much different than that of Dharamsala, hence India might play an extra spinner -- keeping the turning Kotla track in mind.
Here is what India's Playing XI might look like on Thursday:
Rohit Sharma to open India's innings
The opening duo of Rahane and Rohit will open the innings for India. The Mumbaikars gave India a good start at Dharamsala too but failed to capitalise upon the momentum. Rohit departed at 18 while Rahane threw his wicket away at an individual score of 33.
Since Rohit has been the most consistent performer for India in the limited overs format over the last one year he'll once again open the innings.
Ajinkya Rahane to partner Rohit
As for Rahane, a big knock is long overdue from the right-handed batsman to consolidate his position in the ODI squad.
One just hopes they do not commit same mistake this time again and give India a solid start.
'Mr Consistent' Virat Kohli at No. 3:
India's most sucessfull batsman in the past couple of years and future ODI captain, Virat Kohli, is irreplaceable at No. 3.
Continuing from where he left in Test series against New Zealand, the 'Run Machine' slammed an unbeaten 85 and help the side win 1st ODI.
Kohli is in red-hot form in every format of the game this year. Playing in front of his home ground, the local lad would be fancying his chance to make it a memorable one.
Manish Pandey at No. 4
He failed to impress at Dharamsala where the stylish right-handed batsman was dismissed at 17. Rewarded for his performance in Australia for India A, the Karnataka batsman would be hoping to prove his selection right and cement his position into the ODI squad. His IPL experience might also come in handy for India, if he explodes.
MS Dhoni at No. 5:
Indian skipper already cleared his intentions before the start of the ODI series that he would promote himself up in the order.
Dhoni was unfortunate to get run out in the previous match, but he would be hoping to make it big at Kotla.
Kedar Jadhav at No. 6
Had Suresh Raina been fit, it would have been a selection conundrum between him and Kedar Jadhav, his like for like replacement in the first game.
Jadhav had picked up two wickets with his handy part-time off breaks in the first ODI.
He impressed with his bowling skills in the previous ODI but would be desperate to display his batting prowess to book a spot in the Indian squad.
Hardik Pandya at No. 7:
Man of the Match of the previous game would be definitely making it to Playing XI in Thursday's game. Having impressed with his bowling performance in his debut ODI will be keen to replicate it in the second match as well.
Axar Patel at No. 8:
The southpaw spinner who is also an explosive lower order batsman will certainly feature in the playing XI on Thursday and help Amit Mishra in the spin department.
Amit Mishra to spearhead India's spin attack:
There would be a lot of responsibility over the shoulders of spinner Amit Mishra in Delhi. He would play a very significant role as the pitch favours spinners.
He grabbed 3 wickets in the first ODI and team would be hoping a similar performance from him again. Mishra, who plays for Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League, is well versed with the conditions at Kotla.
Umesh Yadav at No. 10
Pacer Umesh Yadav, who bagged two wickets in the first ODI with his fine bowling, would be hoping to continue his good form.
Jasprit Bumrah at No. 11:
The economical pacer and death overs' specialist bowler is a must fit in the ODI squad on any given day. He went wicketless in the first ODI, hence would be hungry to get more wickets in the second match.
Jayant Yadav could be the 12th man
Young off-spinner Jayant Yadav was also seen sweating it out at nets on Tuesday and kept bowling to Dhoni. In fact Jadhav bowled him for a period of time at the nets. He was also given throwdowns by team's expert Raghavendra, batting coach Sanjay Bangar and chief coach Anil Kumble.