After getting off to a positive start with back-to-back victories, the Virat Kohli-led Indian unit is all set for their next challenge against New Zealand in Nottingham on Thursday. Both the teams are riding high on confidence with 100 per cent winning record, however, the onus will be on India who will have to figure out a new opening pair with Shikhar Dhawan being ruled out of the tournament at least three weeks.
The Black Caps have enjoyed a good record against India in ICC events, and Kane Williamson-led New Zealand side will be aiming to win four-on-trot and maintain their pole position. Dhawan’s injury, on the other hand, has forced both skipper Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri to switch to plan B. It won’t come as a surprise if KL Rahul is promoted to open the inning with Rohit Sharma, but with the equation changed the number four riddle will once again puzzle the team management.
As far as the number four slot is concerned, Vijay Shankar and Dinesh Karthik are the only two players in the squad who can fill the space. The ongoing overcast conditions could also bring in Mohammed Shami into the equation at the expense of one of the wrist spinners.
Rahul, who has so far had a modest outing, will also look forward to rise up to the occasion on Thursday. Surviving Trent Boult’s testing opening spell could work wonders for Rahul. Boult had troubled the Indian batting in the warm-up game at the Oval but that game happened when the team had just landed on English soil.
Nearly two and half weeks have gone by and Boult hasn’t got too much swing in the tournament even though his style of bowling is not dependent on conditions. But Boult would not complain if he gets some assistance from the overcast conditions.
New Zealand’s "150kmph man" Lockie Ferguson is also happy that the Trent Bridge track promises to provide bounce that West Indies exploited against both Pakistan and Australia.
"West Indies have shown that there’s some extra bounce available at Trent Bridge and that can cause trouble. I am looking forward to the challenge as I like Trent Bridge as a ground," said Ferguson, making it clear what he has on the mind.
Talking about the weather in Nottingham, the chances of the match getting washed out are very high. However, if the match is played the players will be tested on extremely cold conditions with the temperature barely rising above ten degree Celsius.
-with inputs from PTI