NEW DELHI: As New Zealand prepare to face India in a high-stakes World Cup match on Sunday, the Kiwi team is banking on the valuable experience of their star spinner, Mitchell Santner, who has honed his skills by playing for the Chennai Super Kings in various Indian conditions. The match promises to be a thrilling encounter, with New Zealand, historically India’s nemesis in the World Cup, having lost only thrice across editions.
Captain Tom Lathamhad high praise for Santner, who currently leads the bowling charts in the tournament with 11 wickets from four games.He expects Santner to play a pivotal role against India and highlighted the spinner’s adaptability in Indian conditions.

Latham explained, “He’s been with the Chennai side (Chennai Super Kings) for a long time, so I think we’ve seen how adaptable he is in these conditions. He can obviously turn the ball and he’s obviously got (can extract) a lot of bounce as well which makes him really threatening.”

However, Santner’s challenge will be different against India’s star-studded top order, known for handling spinners well. Latham expressed confidence in Santner’s performance, saying, “He’s been fantastic for us so far this tournament, and I’m sure hopefully tomorrow will be no different.”

The upcoming clash holds significant importance for both teams, with much at stake in their quest for World Cup glory. Latham emphasised the importance of adapting to the unique conditions in India, a stark contrast to the conditions experienced in Australia and England during the previous two World Cups.

While Dharamsala isn’t a ground where New Zealand have played frequently in bilateral matches, Latham stressed the need for quick adaptation to Indian conditions. He emphasised, “Being adaptable is probably one of the most important things for us as a group and trying to do that as quickly as possible.”
New Zealand see the absence of Hardik Pandya in the Indian lineup as an opportunity, and Latham’s team is keen to capitalise on this advantage. Pandya will miss the match due to a left ankle injury sustained during India’s last match against Bangladesh.

New Zealand

New Zealand players during practice. (Reuters Photo)

In ICC events, New Zealand have held an edge over India in One-Day Internationals, with five wins out of nine matches played. India have emerged victorious on three occasions, with one match abandoned. Despite their historical record, Latham acknowledged India’s prowess, stating, “They’re a fantastic team. They’ve been playing some great cricket for a long period of time.”
The stage is set for a highly-anticipated contest between two top-performing teams of the World Cup. Latham expects a thrilling match, saying, “I see two form teams that are playing some good cricket, so it’s going to be a great contest tomorrow.”
(With inputs from PTI)

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