Hosts India play 2019 finalists New Zealand in a battle of the Cricket World Cup’s unbeaten table-toppers in Dharamsala.
Who: India vs New Zealand
When: Sunday, October 22, 2pm (08:30 GMT)
Where: HPCA Stadium, Dharamsala, India
Over the past week, the Indian city of Dharamsala received the season’s first snowfall. As television cameras pan out behind the stadium, the Himalayan mountaintops are noticeable in their pristine white glory.
Temperatures are set to rise on Sunday, though, when the only two unbeaten teams at the Cricket World Cup meet. New Zealand and hosts India are 4-0 in the tournament, although the 2019 runners-up New Zealanders lead on net run rate.
New Zealand began its tournament by beating defending champions England by nine wickets, and then made easy work of the Netherlands (by 99 runs), Bangladesh (by eight wickets) and Afghanistan (by 149 runs).
The tougher part of their league campaign begins on Sunday, against two-time champions India, followed by Australia, South Africa, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
“India will be a massive challenge in its home conditions. At the moment, they are looking pretty tough to beat,” New Zealand left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner said after the win against Afghanistan.
Indeed, India have been steamrolling its opponents. They beat Australia by six wickets, brushed aside Afghanistan by eight wickets, beat archrivals Pakistan by seven wickets and defeated Bangladesh by seven wickets.
Fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah has led the wicket-taking for India, with 10 wickets in four games at an average of 13.40, and has been particularly effective in the middle overs.
“Picking up wickets in the middle overs helps us control the run rates. We have managed to do that in all our games,” said India wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav after the win against Bangladesh. “We have started well in the powerplays too, except against Bangladesh. It allows us spinners to control [proceedings] as well.”
India’s star all-rounder Hardik Pandya has been ruled out of the game. He twisted his left ankle while bowling in Pune and has been sent to Bengaluru for rehabilitation.
Suryakumar Yadav is expected to get a game on Sunday and bat at number six. But India’s worry will be balancing out the bowling attack, as none of the top-order batsmen can reliably bowl.
Whether picking bowling all-rounder Shardul Thakur or pacer Mohammed Shami, India will only have five bowlers to choose from. It is likely to be inclined towards Shami to have the best chance to bowl 50 overs against an in-form New Zealand batting lineup.
The Black Caps continue to be without skipper Kane Williamson, who is currently out injured after fracturing his thumb, and Tom Latham will once again be in charge.
Head to head
The two countries have played 116 one-day internationals. India holds the better record, with 58 wins.
New Zealand have won 50 of those games, while seven ended in no-result and one in a tie.