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Confident of bouncing back: Bhuvneshwar

- Suresh Raina injures elbow during practice
Bhuvneshwar Kumar

Auckland: India medium pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar on Friday said that his team was completely focused ahead of their do-or-die match against New Zealand and confident of reversing the 0-2 deficit in the five-ODI series.

“There is no extraordinary pressure on us. We are confident of bouncing back.

“To win this match, we just need to be focused on the game. We are not overconfident about winning, just confident enough,” he said.

“If we can win tomorrow, it will lift us enough to even win three matches in a row and win the series,” he added.

The visitors lost the first two ODIs — at Napier by 24 runs and at Hamilton by 15 runs (D/L method) — to go down 0-2 in a five-match series.

New Zealand have batted well in this series so far, with their in-form line-up not giving away many wickets in the middle overs. It has allowed their lower-order batsmen, particularly Corey Anderson, to make a late surge in the death overs.

“The middle overs are not a weakness. New Zealand have just played better cricket than us. We have just been focusing on keeping the run-rate down and we haven’t been able to get wickets. We need to keep working on that,” said Bhuvneshwar.

There seems to be another concern for the visitors as Suresh Raina was rendered a doubtful starter for the must-win one-dayer as he injured his elbow during Friday’s practice session.

“Raina was hit on the left elbow while batting at the nets.

“He was taken for a precautionary X-ray and is fine. He has a soft tissue damage and we will assess his fitness before the start of game,” a member of the India support staff said.

Corey Anderson has played a major role so far behind New Zealand’s 2-0 lead in the series. Bhuvneshwar knows that it’s imperative to get the all-rounder early if India are to give themselves a good chance of a comeback.

“There is no one name that we are concentrating on. Their whole batting line-up is in form at the moment. Jesse Ryder, Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor...they are all in good touch. The aim is to get them all out, and not just focus on one player.

“Obviously we do need to get Anderson early. He has given them good scores in the last two matches, so we need to get him out cheaply to keep the scoring down,” he added.

It has been a whirlwind first year in international cricket for Bhuvneshwar, with varied experiences at home and then on overseas tours, especially in England, South Africa and New Zealand.

The medium-pacer acknowledged his learning experience.

“As a fast bowler, it is a good experience for me because the ball does a bit here. There is not much swing, but quite a bit of bounce. All of this helps me. Also, I expected the conditions to be more windy. Since the conditions are suitable for bowlers, I keep it simple or try to. There is no point making things complicated,” he said.

Asked which area of his bowling he has worked hard on, Bhuvneshwar said, “I have tried to improve on my death bowling.

“Before the Australia series in India, we had a two-month break and I focussed on that aspect. I have tried to bowl yorkers in the end overs. If you bowl well early in the innings, it is also important to finish well.”