WC 2023: India to Face New Zealand in the 21st ODI of ICC Cricket World Cup 2023

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Varad Bhatkhande

Dharamshala, 21st October 2023: In a highly anticipated encounter, India is set to take on New Zealand on October 22, in the 21st ODI of the ICC ODI Cricket World Cup 2023. New Zealand currently tops the tournament table, while India closely follows as the second-ranked team. With both teams having secured 4 victories out of four games played in this edition of the World Cup, maintaining a perfect record, the upcoming match promises to be a thrilling contest.

This encounter is particularly intriguing as no clear favourite emerges in the lead-up. The teams are tied on points, with New Zealand leading the table due to a superior net run rate.

However, India’s track record against New Zealand in ICC tournaments has not been favourable. Since the year 2000, India has faced New Zealand in ICC tournaments eight times and emerged victorious only once. The most recent encounter took place in the last edition of the ODI World Cup in 2019. In that memorable semi-final match, New Zealand defeated India by 18 runs after rain forced a one-day postponement. The loss continues to haunt Indian fans to this day.

Adding to the anticipation is the absence of all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who sustained an ankle injury in the previous match while bowling at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune. His replacement is yet to be determined, with both Suryakumar Yadav and Mohammed Shami under consideration, contingent on pitch conditions.

New Zealand’s squad, too, faces injury challenges, with the absence of their lead pacer Tim Southee. However, Southee is expected to make a return against India, barring any last-minute surprises. Unfortunately for the Kiwis, captain Kane Williamson will miss the match due to a thumb injury, although his return to the latter stages of the tournament is anticipated. Stand-in captain Tom Latham announced in the pre-match press conference that Southee is available.

Historically, the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium in Dharmashala has proven favourable for pacers. India’s struggle against left-handed pacers, combined with opener Rohit Sharma’s past difficulties against New Zealand star bowler Trent Boult, may persist given the favourable conditions for swing and pace bowling in Dharamshala.

Matches at this venue have generally resulted in low scores, with an average first-inning total of 231. Historically, the team batting first has held the advantage, with an average second-inning score of 199.

Weather reports indicate that the match day will be chilly, with temperatures hovering around 13 degrees Celsius. Furthermore, there is a 74% cloud cover, which may introduce a slight chance of rain to this high-stakes clash. Cricket fans around the world eagerly await the outcome of this thrilling encounter in the 2023 ICC ODI Cricket World Cup.