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New Zealand and India vie for dominance in points table
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New Zealand and India vie for dominance in points table

New Zealand and India are the only teams to have maintained an unbeaten streak in the World Cup thus far, as the two battle for supremacy at Trent Bridge on Thursday.

While New Zealand currently occupy the number one slot in the points table with three wins in as many games, they have arguably faced the weakest sides in the tournament up till now.

Pace has been the theme for this World Cup as New Zealand's Lockie Ferguson and Matt Henry have been at the helm of their dominant bowling performances - often pushing the batsmen on the back foot with sharp bounce as witnessed during the ten-wicket hammering against Sri Lanka.

A steep challenge awaits for New Zealand's versatile bowling attack that provides skipper Kane Williamson plenty of options to tame India's strong batting line-up and would be hoping for a repeat of the warm-up game between the two sides last month.

Meanwhile, India will be rethinking their strategy of playing both the wrist-spinners on an expected placid surface in Nottingham.

Although Yuzvendra Chahal rattled South Africa in India's opening game of the tournament at the Rose Bowl, it is the form of Kuldeep Yadav which is concerning for the Indian team management.

Unlike India's prolific top order, New Zealand has been struggling to find a substantial opening partnership from Colin Munro and Martin Guptill and have been stabilized by the experienced duo of Ross Taylor and Williamson on numerous occasions.

With rain playing the role of a spoilsport in recent games at the World Cup, the India-New Zealand clash also faces the prospect of being reduced to a rain-curtailed encounter. Overcast conditions, on the other hand, are expected to favour the pacers who will look to extract more swing.

India's reshuffled batting order under focus

Shikhar Dhawan's thumb injury rules him out of the cricket action for the next few matches, creating headaches for the Indian think tank about filling in the opener's slot.

According to reports, Rishabh Pant has been called up to replace Dhawan in the squad but it is likely India's number four KL Rahul will be promoted up the order to bat with Rohit Sharma.

This leads to a flux in the batting order, with India expected to opt for either Vijay Shankar or Dinesh Karthik to resolve the vacuum formed in the middle order.

Dhawan's absence will boost the confidence of New Zealand's new-ball bowling pair, given the left-hander's extraordinary match-winning knock against Australia in India's 36-run triumph.


India: Virat Kohli (c), Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, MS Dhoni (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Hardik Pandya, KL Rahul, Mohammed Shami, Vijay Shankar, Rohit Sharma, Kuldeep Yadav

New Zealand: Kane Williamson (c), Ross Taylor, Tom Latham (wk), Tom Blundell (wk), Mitchell Santner, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Colin Munro, Ish Sodhi, Henry Nicholls, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Jimmy Neesham