Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - India, New Zealand in need of batting gains in crucial clash. India will be looking to break their abysmal record against NZ in ICC tournaments
India will be looking to break their abysmal record against NZ in ICC tournaments
On Saturday, when Virat Kohli wasn't berating online trolls of Mohammed Shami, he spoke of his team itching to get back on the field. The mood's changed in a week since reckoning that the break after the Pakistan game comes at a good time for a side that's had players coming in after a long season away from home culminating in an intense round of IPL. While staying indoors and training over the last six days, India would have also had a chance to study the potential threat that stand in their way to the semifinal, after having started their World Cup on an underwhelming note in the form of a 10-wicket defeat.
The respite, if any, for India is that New Zealand, the one other contender in the group to make the last-four, have made a similar start – downed by the same opposition in Pakistan. It'd be wrong to brand Sunday's clash as a virtual quarterfinal – specially with Afghanistan arriving without any inhibitions – but the two points will feel like a lot more for whoever takes it.
Early struggle with the bat punctuated India and New Zealand's defeat to Pakistan, where they were both on the wrong side of the toss, and a fired-up bowling attack which currently appears to be the best-equipped in the tournament. Sunday's game between these two erring sides could come down to how well the team batting first begins, even as Trent Boult hopes to swing it like Shaheen against India's right-handed top-order.
There's also the small matter of an ICC streak hanging over India. On October 24, they were part of a historic game that saw Pakistan break the duck and win their first-ever World Cup encounter against their neighbours in the 13th attempt. While India don't quite need to break duck, but there's scope to be on the other side of history and end New Zealand's utter dominance against them in ICC events – an equation that stands at 7-1 in favour of New Zealand, including the final of the Champions Trophy in 2000 and more recently, the semifinal of the 50-over World Cup in 2019 and the first-ever WTC final earlier this year.
When: India vs New Zealand, Super 12 Group 2, October 31, 18:00 Local, 19:30 IST
Where: Dubai International Stadium
What to expect: On Friday night, Afghanistan nearly pulled off a win while going against the overwhelming trend of ‘bowl first, win match' by opting to bat in an evening game in Dubai.
But teams that don't necessarily bat with the sort of careless abandon that you'd associate with Afghanistan, will always want to chase in the dewy conditions of Dubai. Toss will once again be of paramount importance on Sunday evening
T20I Head to Head: India 8-8 New Zealand. New Zealand have triumphed in both previous meetings against India in T20 WCs. India have won all of their eight T20Is against New Zealand post the 2016 T20 WC.
Injured/Unavailable: Kohli confirmed that Hardik Pandya is fine after the hit he took to the shoulder in the game against Pakistan. The all-rounder is expected bowl during the warm-ups on the eve of the fixture. Kohli addressed the need to have a sixth bowling option in specific situations, and reckoned Hardik could bowl an over or two when his fitness levels permitted him to. The captain even reckoned he could roll his arm over for the same.
Tactics & match-ups: Kohli brushed aside the notions of overdependence on Jasprit Bumrah, but the premier bowler is India's best bet when it comes to this opposition. He has 10 wickets in 9 outings against them and has clipped the wings of the dangerous Martin Guptill in previous meetings. The New Zealand opener has just 28 runs in 27 balls he has faced from Bumrah, getting out twice to him.
Probable XI: Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli (c), Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Varun CV, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah
Injured/Unavailable: Martin Guptill is said to have returned to training at full tilt after suffering a bruised toe in the game against Pakistan, thanks to a pacy yorker from Haris Rauf. There are no other reported injuries or unavailabilities in the side.
Tactics & match-ups: Expect an early introduction of Ish Sodhi, who isn't just the leading wicket-taker against India in this format, but also matches up favourably against two of India's top-three – Virat Kohli and KL Rahul. Kohli has managed just 31 of the 39 balls faced off Sodhi, getting out twice. Rahul has hit 37 off 34 balls, also getting out twice.
New Zealand could also borrow from Pakistan's blueprint, by unleashing a left-arm swing bowler (Trent Boult) and a left-arm spinner (Mitchell Santner) to stifle India's right-hand heavy top-order.
Probable XI: Martin Guptill, Daryl Mitchell, Kane Williamson (c), James Neesham, Devon Conway, Glenn Phillips, Tim Seifert (wk), Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Trent Boult
Did You Know:
– Ish Sodhi is the leading wicket-taker against India in T20Is (17 wickets in 12 matches). Sodhi has also been in exceptional form in 2021, picking 19 wickets in just eight T20Is.
– Rohit Sharma's T20 numbers have dipped since 2019 (averages 29.85 in 22 fixtures) but the opener is the leading run-getter for India against New Zealand in this format, with 338 runs in 13 innings, including four half-centuries and a top score of 80.
What they said:
“It [toss] will continue to be a big factor and that's the nature of this tournament. You can look at this situation in two ways – either you can bank too much on the toss or you can challenge yourself as a team to say okay even if we lose the toss, we're good enough to bowl or bat in any conditions and that should be the attitude. You don't have time in the shortest format of the game to think too much about what happened at the toss. The game goes away from you pretty quickly, and 2 or 3 overs can change the whole course of the game as we saw in the last game as well.” – Virat Kohli
“The way Shaheen bowled the other night was… from a left-armer watching on I thought it was amazing. Early wickets are definitely the focus for us as a bowling group. But, here, we just need to be nice and clear and nice and accurate where we are trying to put the ball. But, hopefully from my point of view, it swings around a little bit and I can mirror what Shaheen did the other night.” – Trent Boult