NOTTINGHAM: India and New Zealand, so far unbeaten in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, face off in the 18th match of the tournament at Trent Bridge, Nottingham on Thursday.
Both India and New Zealand have won all of their games at the ongoing ICC Men’s World Cup and will look to beat each other to the top of the points table when they lock horns today.
Kane Williamson-led New Zealand are at the top of the table with 6 points and NRR of +2.163. India are at fourth spot with 4 points and NRR of +0.539.
Virat Kohli-led India, who beat Australia in Sunday’s match at the Oval, have been jolted by Shikhar Dhawan’s thumb injury which has sidelined the opener for at least three weeks. They have flown in Risabh Pant as his cover, while KL Rahul, who was slotted at No.4 up until now, is likely to open the innings with Rohit Sharma.
New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor, speaking ahead of the game, said it was too early to pick favourites for the World Cup, with most of the 10 teams firmly in the race to reach the semi-finals.
But Taylor said the round-robin format gave enough time for sides to get into their rhythm towards the business end of the tournament.
“I think it´s still early on. The majority, all nine (other) teams are still, or maybe realistically seven teams still in the hunt,” Taylor said.
“I think it´s not only the way the draw works out, you know, if you can get into a bit of a roll towards the end — first and foremost, you´ve got to get into the semi-final.”
New Zealand outplayed India, who are among the favourites alongside champions Australia and hosts England, in a pre-tournament warm-up game last month.
Taylor said that his team´s recent success against India, including their ability to deal with Indian spinners in Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal, would give them confidence.
“We´ve faced India a lot in recent times and had some success against them,” said Taylor, who hit a match-winning 82 against Bangladesh.
“Obviously, two world-class spinners on their day. I think we´ve had success at different stages. We´ll have to wait and see what the wicket produces tomorrow,” he added.
Rain could threaten today’s play, however. The downpour forced the teams to train indoors in Nottingham on Wednesday