With just five games to go until the World Cup, the Black Caps are cutting it fine to be making major changes to their first choice XI.

However, the form of their openers won't be making things easy for the selectors, with yet another failure at the top of the order in the third ODI against India at Bay Oval.

It is now 14 consecutive one-day games where the Black Caps' opening partnership hasn't reached 35, and it is causing some unnecessary strife for the middle order, while significantly hindering their ability to make big totals against quality opposition.

Take today for instance. The early dismissals of Colin Munro and Martin Guptill left a rebuilding effort in order for the Black Caps, and while Ross Taylor (93) and Tom Latham (51) added 119 for the fourth wicket, the scoring rate left plenty to do for the lower-order hitters to reach a competitive total.


When that didn't come off, the hosts found themselves bowled out for 243 – another below-par score in a series full of them.

It's been a series full of failure for both openers as well. Since his 138 against Sri Lanka, Guptill has made just 13, 2, 5, 15 and 13 in his next five innings, but Munro will be the one under pressure to retain his spot. The aggressive left-hander averages just 25 in ODIs, and has reached fifty just once in his past 15 innings. That knock – 87 against Sri Lanka earlier this month - will go some way to appeasing the selectors, but his dismissal today certainly wouldn't help his cause.

Munro was given a life when dropped by Indian wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik after slashing at a ball outside off, but he wasted his second chance, playing the exact same stroke two balls later and being snaffled at slip.

Despite the massive benefits to a fast start in the powerplay overs, Munro's critics don't like his gung-ho style, and Munro can't point to his career record as a reason to keep the faith.

However, the Black Caps do like to give players extended runs to show their worth, and it would be a massive call to bring in a new opener so close to the World Cup, especially with no standout options at the domestic level. George Worker has been the Black Caps' back-up opener for a while now, but averages 34 in ODIs at a dismal strike rate of 71, and the best-performing domestic opener this season – Hamish Rutherford – didn't impress in his last run at international level.

With it also being unlikely for the likes of Tim Seifert or Glenn Phillips to get a sudden call-up, that leaves a promotion up the order for Latham, who looked excellent in his 51 today, as the possible tweak to the batting order.

Latham averages 38 as an opener in ODIs, at a strike rate a tick over 80. It's a decent option, but the Cantabrian has batted well recently at number five, and the Black Caps decision makers may be hesitant to mix things up.

With two ODIs left against India, and three to soon follow against Bangladesh, Munro should still be given a further chance to prove his value, and with the rate things are going, he'll need to make the most of it.