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.
The Oval, London
2019 ICC Cricket World Cup Warm-up
Saturday 25 May, 10:30 local time, 10:30 BST
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.
"Virat just keeps improving, keeps getting better. He is setting bars and standards that possibly we thought would never be achieved" – Rahul Dravidhttps://t.co/LzAtL37H9y— ICC (@ICC) May 20, 2019
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.
"You've just got to be flexible, there will be times when the bowlers dominate and the batters will dominate as well. You've got to be prepared for anything and adapt accordingly." - Taylorhttps://t.co/3NYZqPFdNo— ICC (@ICC) May 21, 2019
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.
Shikhar Dhawan (India): Shikhar Dhawan has been India's most prolific run scorer in ICC tournaments since the ICC Champions Trophy 2013. He was India's leading run-scorer at the 2015 World Cup and now, after a good season with Delhi Capitals, Dhawan looks all set to produce more match-winning performances for India. The left-hander who has fond memories at this venue, having scored two hundreds previously, will relish the flat batting conditions.
Trent Boult (New Zealand): Currently ranked second in MRF Tyres ICC ODI Bowlers' Rankings, Trent Boult will be New Zealand's key weapon during the World Cup. His ability to swing the new ball with pace has troubled the best of top-order batsman in recent years. The left-arm pacer, who was the joint highest wicket taker (22 wickets) in the tournament's previous edition, will relish bowling with the new ball in English conditions.
There are no chances of rain with partly cloudy conditions expected for most part of the day. The Oval has traditionally been a high scoring venue and teams might look to chase keeping the flat batting conditions in mind. However, dry weather and large square boundaries might just bring spinners into play.
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, 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, Ross Taylor.
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