It has been a summer of so near yet so far for New Zealand, and a strong opening salvo against India provides the opportunity to turn an average season into one of potential.
The Black Caps have endured their fair share of injuries and retirements of late, and with a new coach at the helm the next generation of players are beginning to stamp their authority on the international scene, but they need to push on from being the nearly men of the world scene to a team capable of finishing the job.
To have been two-nil up against Australia and to only draw the ODI series and then to lose the Twenty20 clash by just one run will have hurt the Kiwis, but back on home soil they have a chance to cure some of this heartache.
New Zealand thrive more in the shorter forms of the game, and they will be looking to gain momentum in the Twenty20 series for the upcomong 50-over games.
The return of Jacob Oram will be key, the big all-rounder's ability to clobber more than a few runs down the order as well as put in some tight overs has been missed, and in tandem with Daniel Vettori the velocity of his comeback will have much to do with the performance of the home side.
India arrive in New Zealand looking to vanquish the memories of poor previous tours to the land of the long white cloud, and have not had a better side to achieve this in many years.
With a balanced attack of pace and spin to compliment a hard-hitting and skillful batting order the Indians are surrounded by an air of invincibility at present, with a strong feeling that if one comes up against the men from the sub-continent when they are firing your performance is irrelevant; when this team fires they surely won't be beaten many.
A key factor in the Indian team is the stability of their starting XI, with few changes expected Gary Kirsten and his men are sitting pretty.
New Zealand: With both Kyle Mills and James Franklin out of action, and Jacob Oram unlikely to do much bowling, the New Zealand pace attack looks exceptionally light, and much responsibility will fall on the young shoulders of Tim Southee. Daniel Vettori is always key to the Kiwi bowling attack, but Southee needs to get things going well up front for the home side or the situation may be unsalvageable by the time the skipper makes an appearance.
India: With a batting line-up as powerful as the one India possesses, it's hard to pick out one man as key, but Virender Sehwag has to stand as a pivotal performer. If Sehwag gets going early New Zealand will struggle.
New Zealand: With Daniel Vettori to fulfill the spinning role, Jacob Oram returning from injury and Grant Elliot able to turn his arm over, Nathan McCullum may miss out on an opportunity this time round despite having turned out against the Aussies, as the competition for all-rounder spots heats up.
India: Carrying the drinks may be the only way Ravindra Jadeja manages to get on the park this time round. With India possessing a number of slow-bowling all-rounders, the inexperienced youngster will find his opportunities limited.
New Zealand's Last Five ODI Results
2009: Fifth ODI: No Result in Brisbane
2009: Fourth ODI: Lost to Australia by 6 wickets in Adelaide
Third ODI: Lost to Australia by 32 runs in Sydney
Second ODI: New Zealand won by 6 wickets in Melbourne
First ODI: New Zealand won by 2 wickets in Sydney
India's Last Five ODI Results
2009: Fifth ODI: lost to Sri Lanka by 68 runs in Colombo
2009: Fourth ODI: Beat Sri Lanka by 67 runs in Colombo
2009: Third ODI: Beat Sri Lanka by 147 runs in Colombo
2008: Second ODI: Beat Sri Lanka by 15 runs in Colombo
2008: First ODI: Beat Sri Lanka by 6 wickets in Dambulla
Last Five Head-To-Head Results
2005: Final ODI: New Zealand won by 6 wickets in Harare
2005: Fifth ODI: India won by 6 wickets in Harare
2005: Second ODI: New Zealand won by 51 runs in Bulawayo
2003: Ninth ODI: India won by 145 runs in Hyderabad
2003: Sixth ODI: New Zealand won by 4 wickets in Cuttack
The Skippers' Say
"If we fail to get a good start from the openers someone in the middle order stands up. If the batsmen don't score too many runs then it's the bowlers who stand up and take the opportunity to prove themselves and that's why we are winning more games," Indian skipper MS Dhoni reflects on India's all-round skill.
"(Captain) Daniel Vettori, Jacob Oram, Brendon McCullum, these senior guys need to step up and they are aware of that. They see it as a fantastic opportunity to show their wares as well. For us to perform well we need our senior players to play well," New Zealand coach Andy Moles singles out his key players.
New Zealand are by no means a shabby outfit, but India are so powerful at the moment that the visitors should take the 20-over series.
New Zealand: Daniel Vettori (capt), Neil Broom, Ian Butler, Grant Elliott, Martin Guptill, Brendon McCullum (wk), Nathan McCullum, Iain O'Brien, Jacob Oram, Jesse Ryder, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Ewen Thompson.
India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt/wk), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Yusuf Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Irfan Pathan, Ravindra Jadeja, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Praveen Kumar, Munaf Patel, Pragyan Ojha, Dinesh Karthik (wk)
First T20 - Christchurch, February 25
Second T20 - Wellington, February 27