India elected to bowl in their World Cup league stage game against New Zealand on Sunday in keeping with the tradition here at Dharamsala’s Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association ground, where teams winning the toss usually decide against batting first.
This is also the fifth successive time in the ongoing World Cup that Rohit Sharma’s men will be fielding first. They have won all their previous games chasing targets.
India have made a couple of changes in the team that played the last three matches – batsman Suryakumar Yadav has replaced the injured all-rounder Hardik Pandya while pace bowler Mohammed Shami has come in place of all-rounder Shardul Thakur.
New Zealand have fielded the same players who defeated Afghanistan in Chennai on October 18.
This will be India’s sixth game here and of the five previous matches, they have won just two including against New Zealand in 2016.
But this being an ICC tournament, the Kiwis enter with the psychological edge, having not lost a single game to India since 2003.
India will once again bank on their spinners who won’t be challenged by the usually heavy dew here in the night since they will bowl under sunlight.
Also, the support from the crowd will be heavily skewed in favour of the Men in Blue as there were long serpentine queues of Indian fans an hour before the game began. There were fans who confessed of having bought tickets at prices over the usual cost and many had flown in from not just outside Himachal Pradesh but India as well.
India’s playing XI: Rohit Sharma (captain), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (wicket-keeper), Suryakumar Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Mohammad Siraj
New Zealand’s playing XI: Tom Latham (wicket-keeper and captain), Devon Conway, Will Young, Rachin Ravindra, Daryl Mitchell, Glenn Phillips, Mark Chapman, Mitchell Santner, Matt Henry, Lockie Ferguson and Trent Boult.