New Zealand cricket team has had a terrific start to its World Cup 2023 campaign in India. The Kiwis have won all four matches so far against England, Netherlands, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
The four victories have propelled the Black Caps to the top of the points table. However, New Zealand’s biggest challenge is in the offing as they are due to face hosts India in Dharamsala on Sunday (October 22).
The Rohit Sharma-led Indian side is also on a three-match winning streak and only behind New Zealand on the points table, featuring 10 teams.
With only a few days left for the marquee fixture, Kiwi spinner Mitchell Santner has said that assessing the conditions in Dharamsala and countering an in-form Rohit Sharma will be vital as they aim the “tough” task of beating India.
“We know they’re going to obviously be a challenge at home. They look pretty tough to beat. We’ll have to do our assessment in Dharamsala – see what the wicket’s going to do.
“There has been a little pace and bounce. But whether that is the case when we play them, we’ll see,” Santner told reporters after New Zealand’s crushing win over Afghanistan on October 18.
Rohit has been in scintillating form in the ongoing World Cup. While the right-handed opener fell for a duck against Australia, he played brutal knocks of 131 and 86 against Afghanistan and Pakistan respectively to script India’s emphatic victories.
“I think power play with the ball is going to be very important. The way Rohit’s kind of getting them off to a flyer. And so, I think we have to do similar stuff to what we’re doing,” Santner added.
“I guess you’re never going to play a perfect game so for us, it’s two points. That’s what we look to get out of every game depending on who we’re playing and what we’ve done well through this tournament is being able to adapt to different conditions.
“Every pitch we’ve played on has been slightly different. We have to treat it very similarly leading into the game against India, assess the conditions, see what’s going to work the best with ball, with bat, build those partnerships and try to take them deep and see what happens,” he further remarked.
Searching for their maiden World Cup title, New Zealand have won their games in clinical fashion so far. The Kiwis have beaten England and Netherlands by nine wickets and 99 runs, while they humiliated Bangladesh and Afghanistan by eight wickets and 149 respectively.
“We’ve just got to kind of keep doing us, keep focused on the things we want to and how we want to play. And obviously, it’s nice to be in this position to lead into this game.
“We obviously know it’s such a long tournament, and one loss isn’t going to hurt you if you win the rest, or you kind of look at that at the start,” Santner stated.
(With PTI Inputs)