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Thursday, Dec 12, 2019

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.

icc-champions-trophy-2017 Updated: May 27, 2017 16:41 IST
Bihan Sengupta
Bihan Sengupta
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Virat Kohli-led India will face New Zealand in a warm-up game ahead of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017.
Virat Kohli-led India will face New Zealand in a warm-up game ahead of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017.(Photo by: Deepak Malik/ BCCI/ SPORTZPICS)
         

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:

Shikhar Dhawan woul hope to strike big in the warm-up against New Zealand.
Shikhar Dhawan woul hope to strike big in the warm-up against New Zealand. ( Getty Images )

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.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar is cimping from a successful stint in the Indian Premier League.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar is cimping from a successful stint in the Indian Premier League. ( Getty Images )

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.

Tom Latham has been in great form for New Zealand.
Tom Latham has been in great form for New Zealand. ( AFP )

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.

Trent Boult is one of New Zealand’s most reliable bowlers.
Trent Boult is one of New Zealand’s most reliable bowlers. ( Getty Images )

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.