ICC Champions Trophy: Five things India must do vs New Zealand in warm-up tie
India were given a real scare by New Zealand in the last ODI bilateral series that the two teams played. Virat Kohli’s men won the series 3-2. They will again take on each other ahead of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 in a warm-up game on Sunday.Updated: May 27, 2017 16:41 IST
India, the defending champions of ICC Champions Trophy, will lock horns with New Zealand on Sunday in the first of their two warm-up games before the 2017 edition of the mega event.
Barring ace off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, all the other members of the squad had been part of the Indian Premier League and it will be interesting to find how they click as a unit after six weeks of gruelling cricket in the Indian conditions. HT looks at five things that Virat Kohli’s men can focus on to ensure they come out on top:
1. Batsmen need to click: On a placid Oval wicket, where 300 is now considered a par score, the famed Indian batting line-up really need to get quality runs on board to justify their credentials. A lot of focus would be on Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma; both finding form in the recently-concluded Indian Premier League. There would a considerable amount of pressure on captain Virat Kohli as well who has been on a poor run since the Test series against Australia.
2. Get their pace-bowling combination right: Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya were sensational in the Indian Premier League and would want to continue their form in the Champions Trophy. Another player who had a solid run in the IPL was Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who ended with the most number of scalps in his kitty - 26. In such a situation, the case of Mohammed Shami becomes a bit tricky as the speedstar hasn’t played white-ball cricket since the World Cup semifinal in 2015 but has all the abilities to shine in English conditions.
3. Stop Tom Latham: The southpaw is in scintillating form and has hit three half-centuries and a century in his last five knocks for New Zealand in the limited-overs format. He was also the highest run-getter for the Kiwis during their series against India last year and might prove to be a threat if he’s not sent pack soon. Ravichandran Ashwin, who will be expected to turn the ball away from the left-hander, however might get the job done for his side.
4. Momentum: In their last two ODI series, India have managed to win 3-2 against New Zealand and 2-1 against England. However, when they take field on Sunday, Kohli’s men will have to come up with a ruthless mentality and dominate the course of play throughout. Any slip-up of any sort or failing to command authority might put up on the back-foot early on.
5. Tackle the Kiwi trio of Boult, McClenaghan and Southee: McClenaghan played an instrumental role behind Mumbai Indians lifting the Indian Premier League title for the third time while Boult had a decent run with Kolkata Knight Riders. Tim Southee, on the other hand, played just three games but had three wickets to his name. They’re a good bowling unit and with the conditions expected to help seamers, India will have to ensure that they tackle them well.