Tuesday, June 18, 2019 | ePaper

India, New Zealand battle for points table supremacy

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Both India and New Zealand, who have won all of their games at the ICC Men's World Cup 2019 so far, will look to maintain ascendancy as they take on each other at Trent Bridge on Thursday. Team India put up a clinical performance against Australia, registering a 36-run win, but Shikhar Dhawan's thumb injury has given them a major jolt ahead of their next few matches. KL Rahul, who had been slotted to bat at no.4 up until now, is likely to open the innings with Rohit Sharma. He will face a tough challenge first up against a potent New Zealand pace attack.
While wrist-spinners have provided breakthroughs at crucial junctures in both the games so far, it will be interesting to see if Virat Kohli goes in with the same combination on Thursday, considering the short boundaries and overcast conditions on offer at Trent Bridge. New Zealand are currently leading the points table with three wins from as many games. With Lockie Ferguson and Matt Henry leading the bowling charts with 15 wickets between them in the tournament so far, and with Jimmy Neesham and Colin de Grandhomme providing able support, Kane Williamson has enough bowling options as he'll be up against a strong Indian batting line-up.
With their top-order doing bulk of the scoring in the first three matches, the middle order is likely to be tested against a well-rounded Indian bowling unit.
Key Players
Jasprit Bumrah (India): The Indian pacer who currently tops the MRF Tyres ICC ODI Rankings for bowlers, has been giving his best results in the World Cup so far, providing timely breakthroughs. With his subtle variations and the ability to extract movement and bounce, Bumrah will be a tough challenge for New Zealand batsmen on Thursday.
Kane Williamson (New Zealand): One of the best batsmen of the modern era, Williamson's ability to score runs in any conditions makes him New Zealand's most reliable player. With his smart play and the ability to counter spin-bowling, the Kiwi skipper will look to hold the innings together against India.
Conditions
Chances to get a full 100-over game seem bleak as there might be heavy and thundery showers later in the day. With bowlers from either team capable of exploiting overcast conditions, much like West Indies did against Pakistan here, both captains will look to field first.
Squads:
India: Virat Kohli (c), Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, MS Dhoni (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Hardik Pandya, KL Rahul, Mohammed Shami, Vijay Shankar, Rohit Sharma, Kuldeep Yadav.

New Zealand: Kane Williamson (c), Ross Taylor, Tom Latham (wk), Tom Blundell (wk), Mitchell Santner, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Colin Munro, Ish Sodhi, Henry Nicholls, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Jimmy Neesham.

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