Ahead of the fifth ODI against India, New Zealand have suffered a big injury blow. They are set to play the final game of the ongoing series without their star opener Martin Guptill after the right-handed batsman suffered a back injury at practice.
According to reports, Guptill was training with his teammates when he aggravated his lower back while throwing at fielding practice at the Basin Reserve on Saturday. Guptill soon hunched in pain before being assisted off the ground by the team physiotherapist Vijay Vallabh and security manager Terry Minish.
New Zealand Cricket later released a statement, saying that Guptill would be reassessed in the morning before deciding on his availability for the last ODI. However, with the series already decided in India’s favour, the Black Caps are unlikely to take any risk ahead of the World Cup in summer. The injury does not look serious and Guptill might be fit to play the first Twenty20 international in Wellington on Wednesday.
Guptill’s injury, meanwhile, could be a blessing in disguise for out-of-form Colin Munro. The southpaw was set to rejoin the New Zealand squad on Sunday and is now looking good to open the innings. Munro was released to play the Twenty20 Super Smash match for the Aces against the Knights on Saturday. Munro had fared poorly in the first three games, scoring 8 31 and 7. However, he will have a chance to prove his credentials again if he opens the innings on Sunday.
Meanwhile, New Zealand will be looking to continue their winning run in the fifth ODI. After losing the first three games, the hosts won the fourth game by 8 wickets to get back to winning ways. The Kane Williamson-led side had thoroughly dominated the proceedings in the last ODI to inflict a humiliating defeat on India.
Having lost just nine wickets in the previous three games of the series, India were all out for just 92 with Trent Boult being the destructor-in-chief. Boult remarkably went 10 overs unchanged as he claimed the stunning figures of 10-4-21-5, swinging the ball to create all sorts of problem for the Indian batsmen.
New Zealand then chased down the total by losing just two wickets and with 212 balls remaining.