Deadline: July 9, 2019 at 3 PM IST
Venue: Old Trafford, Manchester
Pitch and conditions
First things first, weather does not look good on the match day. There are chances of rain early morning and then at noon. Good news is that the clouds will move away as the match progresses.
There will be enough purchase for the pacers early on, but the recent trend of losing while chasing will put both captains in two minds.
The average first and second innings scores, at Manchester this World Cup, read 337 and 241 respectively. In the recent match, Australia fell tantalisingly short by 10 runs in a pursuit of 326 against South Africa.
Probable XI for India: Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli (c), Rishabh Pant, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja/Dinesh Karthik/Kedar Jadhav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Shami, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah
After defeating Bangladesh, Virat Kohli revealed that playing only five bowlers was risky. It was hence assumed that Kedar Jadhav will replace Dinesh Karthik against Sri Lanka, but India instead rested Mohammad Shami for Ravindra Jadeja.
Given the current context, neither Jadhav nor Karthik will get a nod. Jadeja’s fine performance with the ball has earned him a place in the playing XI. More importantly, he is their best fielder and a handy lower-order batsman.
Probable XI for New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Henry Nicholls, Kane Williamson (c), Ross Taylor, Tom Latham (wk), James Neesham, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Lockie Ferguson, Matt Henry, Trent Boult
NOTE: Pick your fantasy cricket team wisely.
England scored 305 for 8 in the absence of the injured Lockie Ferguson, New Zealand’s best bowler in the 2019 World Cup. He is back to full fitness for the big game. Tim Southee will go back to warming the benches.
History repeats itself
Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson had once faced off as captains in a semi-final. The result then went in India’s favour as they beat New Zealand by 3 wickets to reach the final of the 2008 U-19 World Cup. Jadeja, Southee, and Boult too featured in the fixture. To everyone’s surprise, Kohli bowled 7 overs and took 2 for 27. In case India decide to play with five bowlers, Kohli may have to roll over his arm.
India’s worst performance on the tour came against New Zealand in a warm-up game. On a thick layer of grass and under clouds, Trent Boult took 4 wickets and skittled out India for 179. Ravindra Jadeja’s 54 off 50 came as a saving grace.
To make matters worse, India had faced embarrassment in similar conditions earlier this year. Boult’s five-for flattened India to 92 all out.
To put things into perspective, if India bat first and conditions favour the bowlers, New Zealand’s chances of qualifying for a World Cup final scale up.
Key battles and players
In the warm-up game, Boult trapped Rohit in front with an in-swinger. Be it any type of bowler, Rohit’s footwork is such that he finds it difficult to defend deliveries that move in to his pads. Rohit recently became the first player to score five hundreds in a World Cup, and if Boult gets him early, the game will tilt 60-40 in New Zealand’s favour.
Even if New Zealand send Rohit back, they will still have Virat Kohli to deal with. Kohli may not have reached three figures yet but his five consecutive fifties were as fluent as ever. Or maybe, he is keeping his best for the last. He will be up against New Zealand’s first change, Ferguson, who has taken 18 wickets at a stunning average of 18.5.
If there’s one bowler New Zealand won’t try to give any wickets, it is Bumrah. He will bowl with the new ball and then in the last powerplay and then in the death. Above all, he does not stop at one wicket – another follows soon.
It won’t be wrong to call Kane Williamson an opener, for often do New Zealand lose their openers within five overs. Williamson takes the crease and does what he does the best time and again, without complaining. He has scored 481 runs at 96.2.
Rohit Sharma needs 28 runs to surpass Sachin Tendulkar’s tally of 673 runs, the most in a World Cup edition.