India has been off to a fantastic start in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup. After beating South Africa in the opening match by six wickets, India also defeated Australia by 36 runs. Now, the Men in Blue are set to take on New Zealand on Thursday, June 13, at Trent Bridge, Nottingham.
In the match against Australia, India won the toss and chose to bat. Eventually, they beat Australia by 36 runs—India had put up 353 on the board; in response, Australia managed 316.
Australia’s Steve Smith scored 69 and David Warner got 84, but they were no match for India’s line-up. Captain Virat Kohli smashed 82 off 77 balls, while Rohit Sharma scored 57 off 70.
Shikhar Dhawan, who scored an impressive 117 off 109 balls, won Player of the Match. He also received a standing ovation after he was caught out by Mitchell Starc.
However, Dhawan suffered a hairline fracture while playing. The BCCI said that the star batsman is under observation of the medical team.
“The team management has decided that Mr. Dhawan will continue to be in England, and his progress will be monitored,” said the BCCI.
Prediction: India vs New Zealand
NDTV reports that India and New Zealand have been battling it out in one-day international matches since 1975.
Of the 106 matches played against each other, India has won 55, while New Zealand has won 45. Only one match resulted in a tie.
India and New Zealand have both won all their matches until this point. Considering weather conditions and the ‘yellow warning’ for prolonged showers and some flooding, Thursday’s match is expected to be rained out.
Mint reports that K L Rahul and Rohit Sharma will open the batting, followed by Virat Kohli and Dinesh Karthik. Rahul is the “natural replacement” for Dhawan, and Karthik’s good performance at the IPL will push him to the No. 4 spot, says Mint.
Due to Dhawan’s injury, Rishabh Pant has been flown to the UK as a stand-in.
When India’s Cricket World Cup squad was announced, critics strongly disagreed with the selection committee’s decision to exclude Pant. However, he now may have a shot at proving his mettle on world stage.
Although the BCCI said Dhawan is well enough to remain in the UK, Assistant Coach Sanjay Bangar said the opening batsman will need at least 10 to 12 days to recover. This means that Dhawan will also be unable to play against Pakistan on June 16.
Leading wicket-taker Yuzvendra Chahal and fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah are in top shape to take on New Zealand.
Some say India’s bowling is superior to New Zealand’s and could be the edge the team needs to win this match. But Trent Bridge also has small boundaries and a flat pitch for batsmen; this could prove challenging for Indian bowlers.
ESPN says one of New Zealand’s “Fab Four” batsmen Kane Williamson will be a worthy match for India’s bowlers. Other key Kiwi batsmen are Ross Taylor, Trent Boult, and Matt Henry.
After facing India, New Zealand will play against South Africa, West Indies, Pakistan, Australia, and England, in that order. If New Zealand wins, the team will gain two points and stay at the top of the table.
India’s upcoming matches at the 2019 Cricket World Cup
Usually, the most-awaited match for the Subcontinent in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup is the face-off between India and Pakistan.
The two countries will play against each other on June 16 at Old Trafford, Manchester. This match is sold out despite the high ticket prices—£235 for Platinum, £150 for Gold, £115 for Silver, and £70 for Bronze.
After Pakistan, India will play Afghanistan on June 22, West Indies on June 27, Bangladesh on July 2, and Sri Lanka on July 6.
All these matches can be streamed on Star Sports 1 and streaming service Hotstar.
Rhea Arora is a Staff Writer at Qrius