Preview – Strong India look favourites against New Zealand.
Earlier this year, India toured New Zealand for a 5-match ODI series and ended up scripting a comprehensive 4-1 series victory. Virat Kohli’s India dominated Kane Williamson’s New Zealand with ease at home and exposed several chinks in their armory.
When the two sides meet for their ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, India will be slight favorites for the clash. One can never really discount New Zealand as they are the runners-up of the 2015 World Cup.
Team India has a settled and well-balanced unit. It is not a team without its weaknesses, but the temperament of the players for big matches makes them stand out. India’s top three – comprising of openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan along with captain Kohli – is perhaps the best in the world. They have just played against New Zealand in January and would be confident of asserting themselves at the beginning. If they fail, however, India’s middle-order will be tested.
The likes of Vijay Shankar/ K.L Rahul and MS Dhoni have been patchy and how they handle the pressure will be interesting to see. India’s lower middle-order has a lot of firepowers. Kedar Jadhav is a little pocket dynamite and Hardik Pandya, who has been in sensational hitting form, can slay the bowlers towards the end.
India’s bowling has improved and will be dependent primarily on Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Shami at the beginning and spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav in the middle overs. If the ball seems a bit, Bhuvneshwar Kumar can also make an impact.
New Zealand has a stable batting order. Barring captain Kane Williamson, the others who can make an impact in this match are Henry Nicholls, Ross Taylor and James Neesham. If gets into his flow then opener Martin Guptill can be destructive too.
New Zealand’s bowling hasn’t been as penetrative as it is expected to be these past few months. Trent Boult and Tim Southee would hence have to take all the responsibility. Spinner Ish Sodhi has been extremely impressive and can exploit the newly found weaknesses of the Indian batsmen against spin. Another bowler who can be the X-Factor for the Kiwis is pacer Lockie Ferguson whose pace and swing can hurt the Indian batting.
Pitch Conditions and India vs New Zealand Prediction:
The surface at Trent Bridge, Nottingham, has been overwhelmingly in favor of batsmen in the last four years. The highest ODI total in history – 481-6 by England against Australia – was achieved here in 2018. The pitch will also remain good for chasing as a target of 350 too has been chased here.
So we can expect a high-scoring encounter with batsmen from both the sides having a good time. But India, who has a solid batting unit and has comprehensively beaten New Zealand very recently, has the better chances of coming out trumps in the match.