World Cup 2019, India v New Zealand: 2 players who could have a big say in the result
India will face New Zealand in the 18th match of the ICC World Cup 2019. These two teams met each other recently in a bilateral series which India won 4-1. However, New Zealand defeated India in the warm-up game by 6 wickets.
Both are unbeaten in the tournament so far. With rain predicted on match day, a curtailed game might be on the cards. The venue of the match - Trent Bridge - generally produces a flat wicket, but as the pitch has remained under covers (due to bad weather), there will be some assistance for the fast bowlers.
In this article, we look at two players who could be game-changers for their respective sides:
#1 Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Coming into the tournament, Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s spot in India’s starting XI was uncertain. With the rise of Mohammed Shami in the last six months, many pundits chose Shami over Kumar in their playing XI.
But the Indian team management thought otherwise and preferred Kumar ahead of Shami. And two games into the tournament, they have been vindicated.
Kumar bowled well against South Africa. With Jasprit Bumrah playing as the main strike bowler, Kumar kept one end tight and bowled with discipline. His returns of 44/2 weren’t headline-grabbing but were vital in restricting South Africa.
Kumar upped his game against Australia and again bowled an impressive spell up front, restricting David Warner and Aaron Finch. He later returned to pick up Steven Smith's wicket which eventually tilted the game India's way.
Kumar is a handy batsman at number 8 too as he showed recently at Feroz Shah Kotla, where he scored 46 runs off 54 balls to keep India in the game after a middle-order collapse. In the midst of a star-studded Indian team, Kumar is underrated but has a crucial role to play.
#2 Kane Williamson
Kane Williamson’s batting oozes class. His batting is filled with graceful drives, exquisite clips and deft dabs to third man. He has been an epitome of consistency in the last four years.
With over 5000 runs, the Kiwi captain averages 46.50 and strikes at 82.29. Against Bangladesh and Afghanistan, he steadied New Zealand’s ship after their openers failed to make a mark. In the Bangladesh game, he played second fiddle to Ross Taylor whereas versus Afghanistan he was the more dominant partner.
The Indian pacers will look to place the ball in the corridor outside the off-stump to pick him off early in the innings. Kedar Jadhav lower-arm trajectory has also troubled him in the past.
As the successor to Brendon McCullum, Williamson is shrewd and modern with his captaincy moves. If the conditions offer early assistance, expect him to deploy enough men in catching positions to give his bowlers the best chance of striking early blows.
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