India v New Zealand
Thursday June 13, 10:30
Live on Sky Sports Cricket and Sky Sports Main Event
Impressive start from India
India have made a storming start to their World Cup campaign with a 21-run win over South Africa and a 36-run defeat of Australia. They were however rocked on Tuesday morning with the news that opener Shikhar Dhawan looks likely set to miss the rest of the tournament after fracturing his left thumb during his innings of against the Aussies. Dhawan had scored 117 in the India opener and will be a big miss. KL Rahul is likely to partner Rohit Sharma in the opener role.
Virat Kohli won the public's hearts with his defence of Steven Smith during the second game and his 82 against Australia was typical high quality. It is Sharma that has made the most impressive start to the competition with an unbeaten 122 against the Proteas followed by a similarly impressive 57. The top-order will need a re-jig in Dhawan's absence but at least Team India are shuffling their pack from a position of strength.
With the ball, Yuzvendra Chahal legbreaks have yielded him six wickets as the experienced seam attack of Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar have taken five wickets apiece. With the bat, Hardik Pandya made a superb 48 to boost India to a winning total of 352 for five against Australia, but his 16 overs have cost 99 runs, the most expensive of any of the Indian attack.
Kiwis have done everything asked of them
On paper New Zealand had the easiest start they could have wished for with their first three games coming against Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. Three wins later and the Black Caps have done all that was required of them, but the landscape changes in Nottingham with a clash with the Indian giants. They did however batter the Indians in a World Cup warm-up game so confidence is high.
The Kiwis have been a forced to be reckoned with in 50-over cricket since they made the final of the last World Cup. With 10 wins from 14 ODIs played this year and six on the bounce they have more than a shout of causing India plenty of troubles. They beat the Indians in a warm-up match and have won a close one against Bangladesh to prove they have plenty of fight.
Kane Williamson (pictured) is one of those more astute captains in the competition and it will be interesting to see him pit his wits against opposite number Virat Kohli who can, at times, be tactically lacking.
Dangerous to underestimate the Kiwis
The only two unbeaten sides in the tournament go head-to-head on a Trent Bridge surface where four of the last seven completed one-day internationals have been won by the side batting first. But with rain dominating matches this week the team winning the toss will undoubtedly opt to bat second to ensure DLS calculations can influence their chase.
I think the value play to win this match are New Zealand. Well balanced and full of confidence they take my money at a very tasty 2.829/5.
When these two sides met in a warm-up fixture Trent Boult (4-33) ripped through India as the score became 39 for four in the 11th over and eventually 179 all out as New Zealand won by four wickets. With cloud cover likely to assist swing bowling, back Boult to take most wickets for New Zealand at 5/2. In the Indian bowling markets I would look for seam too, but with Jasprit Bumrah short-priced and uncertainty on which bowlers will support him, it's a market I am leaving alone.
Losing the in-form opener Shikhar Dhawan adds responsibility on Rohit Sharma (11/4) and Virat Kohli (12/5), but the experienced pair have begun the World Cup in excellent form. MS Dhoni at 5/1 is also to be considered in this market for the Top India Batsman and a nibble on hard-hitting Hardik Pandya 17/2 isn't the daftest punt on Thursday. If there is cloud cover and Trent Boult damages the top order once again a split-stakes play on Dhoni and Hardik is a wise move.
The New Zealand top four is now well established and each of the players, Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor, have notched a fifty-plus score in one of their three previous matches. Taylor is ranked third in the ICC ODI batting rankings and scored 82 and 48 in the first two games. He looks to be striking the ball ominously well and takes my cash to be the Kwiwi's leading run-scorer at 7/2.
It worked for me in the last match so let's pick out three potential match winners at small stakes to provide entertainment throughout the game. For this one I am taklng Trent Boult at 12/1, Hardik Pandya 16/1 and Ross Taylor 12/1.
Follow James on Twitter @cricket_badger