posted on 2019-06-12 12:46:34
posted by Michael Harrison
Image courtesy: India Today
India: KL Rahul, R Sharma, V Kohli, V Shankar, MS Dhoni, K Jadhav, H Pandya, B Kumar, K Yadav, Y Chahal, J Bumrah
New Zealand: M Guptill, H Nicholls/C Munro, K Williamson, R Taylor, T Latham, J Neesham, M Santner, C de Grandhomme, M Henry, T Boult, L Ferguson
Virat Kohli has dominating numbers against the Kiwis. Read more: https://cricxtasy.com/blog/squiggle/icc-cricket-world-cup-2019-india-vs-new-zealand-key-battle-virat-kohli-the-usual-suspect
During a week of weather interruptions, the unbeaten teams India and New Zealand face off in Nottingham with the forecast once again looking grim. India have been clinical in their victories against South Africa and Australia, justifying their tag as one of the tournament's favorites. New Zealand are yet to face a strong side and this will be an acid test for them.
Twice in their three victories, New Zealand's pace attack has shown their prowess, especially on surfaces where the ball was moved around. In Trent Boult, Matt Henry and Lockie Ferguson, the Kiwis have a potent unit that's capable of swinging/seaming the ball at a high pace. Also, as the Afghanistan game proved, their backups like James Neesham can also wreck havoc.
The batting hasn't really been tested yet, thanks to their bowling performances but it's an area that they would want to improve on. Also, on pitches that are flatter, the bowling unit does need to find different methods. If the tracks for the World Cup continue to be the way they are, New Zealand don't really have many concerns.
The Kiwis are expected to be unchanged for this fixture although there could be a toss-up for the opening slot between Henry Nicholls and Colin Munro. The other factor will be Tim Southee who is still warming the bench with a slight fitness concern. But even if he is fit, the veteran could find it tough to break into the XI at the moment.
Having beaten two top-class sides, India's confidence is buzzing but Shikhar Dhawan's injury is a massive blow to the side. The southpaw injured his thumb en route the matchwinning century against Australia and is certain to miss two matches at least. He could be ruled out for three weeks too.
For a side that's otherwise had everything sorted, this will be a concern to deal with. KL Rahul is set to open the innings and the initially designated no.4 batsman Vijay Shankar is line for his World Cup debut. The rest of the line up won't have any changes although the think tank may mull over a third seamer, depending on the pitch conditions.
As long as India's middle order are on song, like they were against Australia, opponents could find it difficult to get past them. The bowling unit is well-rounded and proactive with the wrist spin duo dominating the all-important middle overs phase. The template for opponents continues to be to make the new ball count and with Dhawan out, the top order is slightly iffy.
Will be updated shortly.
Odds and Predictions
A rain-affected game is in the offing if Nottingham's weekly weather trends are anything to go by. New Zealand do have the attack for such conditions, especially if the track is green. However, with wins over stronger opponents, India have more momentum behind them and start as 55-45 favorites for this clash.