The Indian team, led by Virat Kohli will take on Kane Williamson’s New Zealand at The Oval on Saturday, aiming to find answers to their ideal playing combinations ahead of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019, reports ICC-Cricket.com.
India had won four consecutive ODI series, including the Asia Cup, before they were handed their first ODI series loss at home since October 2015 by Australia. The outcome posted serious questions on the team’s balance going into the World Cup. However, a large part of the squad, including the skipper Virat Kohli, seem to be in fine form, thanks to some stellar individual performances during the recently concluded Indian Premier League.Shikhar Dhawan, MS Dhoni and Hardik Pandya’s recent form come as a great positive. Rohit Sharma, India’s opening batsman and vice-captain, and Kuldeep Yadav, the left-arm wrist-spinner, were among two of India’s key players that were a bit off-colour during the IPL though. They will want to make amends during the warm-ups.
New Zealand lost the ODI series to India at home but redeemed themselves after clean-sweeping Bangladesh with three resounding wins. The batting unit which revolves around the experienced trio of Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor is capable of posting big totals against any opposition. Tom Latham’s finger injury presents opportunity for the uncapped Tom Blundell to justify his selection in the national squad.
A well-rounded pace attack, quality spinners and genuine all-rounders make up a formidable unit for the Kiwis. New Zealand, who had their best ever World Cup campaign in 2015 will look to fine-tune things quickly to try and go the whole distance this time.
India: Virat Kohli (C), Rohit Sharma (VC), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Vijay Shankar, MS Dhoni (WK), Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja and Mohammed Shami.
New Zealand: Kane Williamson (capt), Tom Blundell (wk), Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham (wk), Colin Munro, Jimmy Neesham, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee and Ross Taylor.