Cricket World Cup: India vs New Zealand
Venue: Trent Bridge, Nottingham
Date: Thursday 13th June 2019
India and New Zealand face off on Thursday as the last two remaining undefeated teams in the competition. India have two wins from two games so far in the 2019 Cricket World Cup, starting their campaign by beating South Africa by six wickets. They then put up perhaps the performance of the entire tournament so far as they beat Australia by 36 runs last Sunday after opening with a 352/5 slog with the bat.
New Zealand are also undefeated and sit top of the table with three wins out of three matches. While it is true that they haven’t faced the stiffest of competition in their three wins, they have been impressive in the methodical way they have chased down targets. They beat Sri Lanka without losing a wicket as they ran down a total of 136, Bangladesh by two wickets in their most impressive win to date, and then Afghanistan by seven wickets last time out.
The big news heading into this one is that Indian opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan has been ruled out with a left thumb injury. Dhawan will miss the game against New Zealand and the marquee clash with Pakistan before he will be in contention to return. The injury is a hairline fracture in his thumb and it is an injury that the Indian medical team will have to work hard to rehab as Dhawan is a huge part of their championship bid.
KL Rahul is the likely replacement for Dhawan at the top of the order. He is a specialist opener who might not be in quite the same form, but who knows how to place against the new ball. That would mean either Vijay Shankar or Dinesh Karthik will slide into the middle of the order, giving the Indian squad depth a little test as the matches, and their consequences, start to heat up.
New Zealand will be looking to turn around their recent form against India, a team who beat them comfortably three times this January. The New Zealanders will be looking to take an early wicket or two to rock India, a strategy that has worked well for them so far as they have bowled out all three sides they have faced so far this tournament with only Sri Lanka posting a score higher than 172.
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New Zealand Top Bowler: Lockie Ferguson – 4.00
The top bowlers in the Black Caps lineup have been outstanding in England. Ferguson leads all wicket-takers with eight in thee games, showing slightly better form than Matt Henry (seven) and James Neesham (six). Expect to see Ferguson’s pace bowling early, with him looking for short-pitched bouncers to unsettle the top of India’s order.
India Top Batsman: Virat Kohli – 2.00
Dhawan stole the show against Australia as he went for 117 off of 109 balls. With him out of the team, Kohli is the batsman who will be counted on to provide the runs early. He went for 82 himself in a sneaky good performance against the Aussies and he is the key to the attack here.
Total runs at first wicket fall: Under 33.5 – 0.90
The way that New Zealand have been bowling up until this point and the slight uncertainty around the opening partnership for India makes the under a strong play here. Expect the Black Caps to come out with their best bowling early to try to take the advantage in the match.
The Dhawan injury is certainly a blow for India but it just feels like they have too much for New Zealand here. The only way that the Black Caps will have a shot is if they can take a wicket or two early and ride their bowling attack to a quick dismissal. The longer the innings goes the more likely it is that the Indian batsmen will take over.
India at 0.44 is the pick here.