The only two unbeaten sides left in the Cricket World Cup go head to head at Trent Bridge on Thursday as India face New Zealand.
India are two from two having eased past South Africa and beaten defending champions Australia, while New Zealand are three from three having seen off Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
India vs New Zealand
June 13, 2019, 10:00am
Virat Kohli’s men have won the last three bilateral ODI series between the sides, including 4-1 in New Zealand earlier this year, in which Shikhar Dhawan scored two half-centuries.
Dhawan will miss Thursday’s fixture in Nottingham, though, after sustaining a hairline fracture to his left thumb during his superb 117 against Australia at The Oval on Sunday.
The left-hander is likely to be out until the group game with England on June 30, which means he is also due to miss the fixtures with Pakistan, Afghanistan and West Indies.
New Zealand will hope to take advantage of Dhawan’s absence and pick up a fourth straight win ahead of a tough-looking run in – the Black Caps still have England, Australia and West Indies to play.
KL Rahul will open the batting in place of Dhawan, with Vijay Shankar, Dinesh Karthik or Ravindra Jadeja taking Rahul’s spot in the middle order. Karthik is in the squad principally to be MS Dhoni’s back-up, so Shankar should likely get the nod. Jadeja is also a contender to replace fellow spinner Kuldeep Yadav, who has taken just one wicket in two games.
New Zealand could be set to name an unchanged side for a fourth-straight game. That said, Tim Southee is back fit and so could return, given his five previous dismissals of Kohli in ODIs. Contrastingly, Colin Munro had a poor time of it in the series versus India earlier this year, averaging 17.50, so could the Black Caps change things up at the top of the order?
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Dhawan, Kohli and Rohit Sharma have starred for India with the bat so far, with 125, 100 and 179 runs respectively but Hardik Pandya gave the ball a whack against Australia with a 27-ball 48 after coming in at No 4. He is yet to ignite with the ball yet but it may be only a matter of time.
Jimmy Neesham and Lockie Ferguson combined for nine wickets in Saturday’s win over Afghanistan, Neesham with five and Ferguson four, before Kane Williamson‘s composed 79 took the Black Caps to their target of 173 inside 33 overs. Williamson will want to rack them up against India having only made one fifty on five innings against them earlier this year.
WHAT ARE THEY SAYING?
India batting coach Sanjay Bangar on Dhawan’s fitness: “As far as Shikhar is concerned we’ll be observing him, and around the 10th or 12th day we’ll get to know where he stands, and we’ll be in a better position to take a call because we don’t want to rule out a precious player like Shikhar. Shikhar will definitely be missed in the next three to four games but we have a great backup for each position. So with that, we should be able to make it up.”
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