India's campaign at the 2019 World Cup has begun in fine fashion as the Virat Kohli-led side has two wins from two matches and will be looking to seal a hat-trick of wins with a victory against New Zealand.
The Men in Blue comprehensively beat South Africa by six wickets in their opening game before putting up an all-round show to clinch a comfortable 36-run victory against Australia. Yet, with New Zealand unbeaten from three games, the Kiwis are certain to bring in a new challenge.
One issue that India has to deal with is the fact that Shikhar Dhawan will be missing out due to a thumb injury and with the southpaw playing a major role in the win against Australia, Dhawan's proficiency at the top order will be surely missed.
With KL Rahul set to slot in at the top with Rohit Sharma, the number four spot is again up for grabs and that one spot could be taken up by either Vijay Shankar or Dinesh Karthik.
However, Vijay Shankar could be the front-runner to replace Dhawan.
KL Rahul will have to move up the order and open the innings for the team and it is undoubtedly a golden opportunity for Rahul to prove to his critics that he can succeed as an opener at the highest level.
Yet, the major talking point would be the number four spot, which in all likelihood is slated to be taken up by Vijay Shankar, who was touted to slot in at that position owing to his decent show with the bat against Australia in the series at home.
From nine ODI matches thus far, Shankar has notched up 165 runs at a decent average of 33.00 and a strike rate of 96.49. Yet another factor that places Shankar ahead of Karthik is the fact that the former can also chip in with some medium-pace and on a surface that is certain to assist seamers, Shankar's skill can come to good use.
With a solid technique and good temperament, Shankar's skill set could be vital to help India stabilise the innings in the middle overs, if the openers fail and with the likes of MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya and Kedar Jadhav in the team for the finishing duties, the big-hitting of Karthik is not in demand either.