Dharamsala: Daryl Mitchell struck a sparkling century to pull New Zealand towards a competitive total against India in Sunday’s top-of-the-table World Cup clash between two unbeaten teams.
Mitchell and Rachin Ravindra put on a stand of 159 for the third wicket after the Kiwis were invited to bat first and lost their openers early in the Himalayan hill town of Dharamsala.
Mitchell lost his partner Ravindra on 75, but kept up the charge to get his fifth ODI ton in 100 balls to raise his bat to an applauding Kiwi dressing room.
New Zealand reached 222-4 in 41 overs with Mitchell and Glenn Phillips batting.
New Zealand and India are the only unbeaten sides in the competition, with four consecutive wins and eight points each. They are only separated in the points table by run-rate — New Zealand leads with +1.923 to India’s +1.659.
New Zealand have beaten England, the Netherlands, Bangladesh and Afghanistan while India have notched up wins over Australia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
India’s star all-rounder Hardik Pandya is unavailable for their table-topping clash due to a left ankle injury sustained in its previous game against Bangladesh in Pune. In his place, the hosts have brought in Suryakumar Yadav who will bat at No 6.
The two-time champions have also made another change, bringing in pacer Mohammed Shami for bowling all-rounder Shardul Thakur.
New Zealand are unchanged from its previous win over Afghanistan in Chennai. Star batsman and skipper Kane Williamson is still unavailable because of a thumb injury, and Latham leads the side again in his absence.
With the Black Caps’ pacers doing well in the tournament, wrist spinner Ish Sodhi sits out his fifth consecutive game.
The pitch at the HPCA Stadium in Dharamsala is expected to have something for everyone. Fast bowlers should find some early movement in either innings, with spin coming into play later in the game.
A shorter ground should entice batsmen and cooler autumn temperatures will help with dew formation, aiding the chasing side.