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Kane Williamson set to play his first game of World Cup 2023, fit for NZ vs BAN

Kane Williamson set to play his first game of World Cup 2023, fit for NZ vs BAN

Pacer Tim Southee has also returned to full fitness but will miss the NZ vs BAN clash.

New Zealand skipper, Kane Williamson is all set to play his first game of World Cup 2023. Williamson is fully fit for New Zealand’s game against Bangladesh set to be played on Friday in Chennai. Meanwhile, pacer Tim Southee has also returned to full fitness but will miss the NZ vs BAN clash.

The Kiwis (NRR: +1.958) have four points now, same as India (NRR: +1.5) and Pakistan (NRR: +0.92) but a better Net Run Rate has kept them ahead, and a win here will free them from the chasing pack for the time being. In that context, the arrival of Williamson, who has sufficiently recovered from a post ACL injury surgery, benefits them on two counts.

Williamson is a shrewd captain who knows the ebb and flow of ODIs, and he is an excellent batter against spin, a quality that he might have to conjure against a capable Bangladesh unit on a slow Chepauk pitch. Williamson had missed the Kiwis’ matches against England and Netherlands as Tom Latham had stood in as New Zealand captain in those games.

“For me, it’s been quite a journey (since my injury). Excited to be back in the World Cup squad. I am looking forward to it,” said Willamson on Thursday during his pre-match press meet. But the Black Caps will continue to miss the services of senior pacer Tim Southee, who is still recovering from a procedure on his fractured thumb that he suffered during the recent ODI series against England.

Insidesport

“Tim’s progressing well, but he won’t be playing tomorrow’s game,” said Williamson. However, Williamson’s comeback will pose the Kiwis with a selection dilemma as well. Rachin Ravindra, who batted at No. 3 in the absence of Williamson, has notched up a hundred and fifty in two World Cup outings, and the Kiwis management will have to think hard as to who to be benched to accommodate the returning 33-year-old.

While keeping that minor headache for later, New Zealand will be pleased to see the form of their top-order batters like Will Young, Devon Conway and Daryl Mitchell.

However, New Zealand will want every bit of runs from them as the MA Chidambaram track could offer another turner like it did in the match between India and Australia the previous Sunday. In that match, the Indian spinners had taken six wickets and the tweakers could come into focus on Friday as well. Despite a walloping at the hands of England in their last match, this could be Bangladesh’s secret point of joy going against the Kiwis.

Their spin trio of skipper Shakib Al Hasan, Mahedi Hasan and Mehidy Hasan Miraz has taken 11 wickets among them from two matches. The Tigers will pin their hopes on those three to weave their magic on New Zealand to notch up a crucial victory.

However, New Zealand also will feel quietly confident about their chances in such kind of surface because of the presence of Mitchell Santner. The left-arm spinner is currently the highest wicket-taker in this World Cup with seven wickets, including a fifer against the Netherlands. Bangladesh will require senior batters like Shakib, Mushfiqur Rahim, Litton Das and Najmul Shanto to rise to the occasion and counter Santner, a massive threat in white-ball formats with several tricks up his sleeve.

However, the Antipodeans will have an edge in the pace department as the likes of Trent Boult, Matt Henry and Lockie Ferguson have a lot more experience overall and in these conditions, courtesy their IPL stints. Even the head-to-head record gives New Zealand an overwhelming advantage. These two teams have met on 41 occasions in ODIs, with New Zealand winning 30 times, whereas Bangladesh have won on 10 instances with a no result.

Teams:

Bangladesh: Shakib Al Hasan (c), Litton Das (wk), Tanzid Hasan, Najmul Hossain Shanto (vc), Tawhid Hridoy, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mahmudullah Riyad, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Nasum Ahmed, Mahedi Hasan, Taskin Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman, Hasan Mahmud, Shoriful Islam, Tanzim Hasan Sakib.

New Zealand: Kane Williamson (c), Trent Boult, Mark Chapman, Devon Conway (wk), Lockie Ferguson, Matt Henry, Tom Latham (wk), Daryl Mitchell, Jimmy Neesham, Glenn Phillips (wk), Rachin Ravindra, Mitch Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Will Young.

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