As the ICC World Cup 2023 enters a crucial stage, India and New Zealand find themselves perched at the top of the points table. Both teams have played four matches each, emerging victorious in all of their respective games, setting the stage for an intense clash. In their last outing, India squared off against Bangladesh, securing a convincing 7-wicket win.
Virat Kohli and Shubman Gill spearheaded the Indian innings, notching up 103 and 53 runs, respectively. On the other hand, New Zealand clashed with Afghanistan, emerging triumphant with a commanding 149-run margin. Tom Latham and Glenn Phillips played pivotal roles, amassing 68 and 71 runs, respectively.
India and New Zealand have a storied history, having faced each other 116 times in this format. India boasts 58 victories to their name, while New Zealand has secured 50 wins. A compelling battle between these two high-quality teams is on the horizon.
However, India faces a daunting task as they look to fill the void left by Hardik Pandya, a player who doesn’t have a like-for-like replacement. Adjusting their well-established balance, the team must decide if they’re willing to forgo the luxury of a sixth bowling option. This dilemma could result in the selection of Ishan Kishan or Suryakumar Yadav, potentially compromising their bowling strength.
Furthermore, they must weigh the pros and cons of bringing in Mohammed Shami for Shardul Thakur. Such a change would elevate their bowling but could leave their batting lineup limited to No.7. Given their current form, India hasn’t heavily relied on their lower-order batsmen, making this a plausible strategy.
Another consideration is the inclusion of Ravi Ashwin. New Zealand’s lineup is expected to feature five left-handers, a situation where Ashwin could be instrumental. However, if Ashwin were to replace Thakur, India would rely on a 2-3 seam-spin attack, an approach not ideally suited for Dharamsala’s conditions.
Probable XI: Rohit Sharma (c), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (wk), Ishan Kishan/Suryakumar Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami/Shardul Thakur, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj
New Zealand is unlikely to welcome back Kane Williamson just yet, although they have Tim Southee available. With a balanced PowerPlay strategy, they may not reintroduce the seasoned campaigner. However, if circumstances force them to bring Southee into the fold, he possesses a remarkable record against India’s key batters, having dismissed Rohit Sharma five times and Virat Kohli six times in ODIs.
Probable XI: Devon Conway, Will Young, Rachin Ravindra, Daryl Mitchell, Tom Latham (c&wk), Glenn Phillips, Mark Chapman, Mitchell Santner, Matt Henry, Trent Boult, Lockie Ferguson
Fantasy XI Suggestion 1:
Devon Conway (vc), KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma (c), Virat Kohli, Shubman Gill, Ravindra Jadeja, Mitchell Santner, Rachin Ravindra, Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav, Matt Henry
Fantasy XI Suggestion 2:
Devon Conway, KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma (c), Virat Kohli, Shubman Gill (C), Ravindra Jadeja, Mitchell Santner, Rachin Ravindra (VC), Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav, Trent Boult