NAPIER – New Zealand won the toss and elected to bat first against India at Napier's McLean Park in the first of a five-match one-day international series.
The wicket and fast outfield promise a run fest with the world's second and third ranked sides featuring the three leading ODI batters.
India's Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma are ranked one and two with New Zealand's Ross Taylor third.
“It looks a very good surface,” New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson said on winning the toss. “We know historically with India they are a very good chasing side but we want to try and get runs on the board first up.
A series sweep to New Zealand in home conditions would see them overtake India as number two in the world, which would be a significant boost with the World Cup five months away.
Kohli, who scored a century against New Zealand on the same ground four years ago, sees the key to playing in New Zealand as not panicking if faced with a 300-plus target.
“You just have to back yourself as a batting group to get those runs,” he said. “We feel quite balanced, we feel confident and we're pretty relaxed with our abilities.”
In the four years since the last World Cup, Kohli has averaged 81.87 from 61 innings, while Taylor edges Sharma at 69.72 from 48 innings compared to 65.75 from 61.
Although New Zealand have swing bowlers Trent Boult and Tim Southee, the game could boil down to run-stemming ability and the home side are playing Mitch Santner as their sole spinner.
India have included two spinners in their line-up, with Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal.
The teams are:
New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Kane Williamson (capt), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, Tom Latham, Mitchell Santner, Doug Bracewell, Tim Southee, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult.
India: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (capt), MS Dhoni, Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, Vijay Shankar, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Yuzvendra Chahal.
Umpires: Shaun George (RSA), Shaun Haig (NZL)
TV Umpire: Nigel Llong (ENG)
Match referee: David Boon (AUS)
Agence France-Presse (AFP)