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ICC World Cup: New Zealand to take on Bangladesh at MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai

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In today’s fixture, New Zealand will take on Bangladesh at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. The match is scheduled to begin at 2 pm. The Kiwis will aim to maintain their winning streak as they displayed high standard of cricketing skill in early encounter with defending World Champion England. 

The Chepauk track is known for being low and slow with spinners getting a lot of assistance. Bangladesh will not mind a pitch that offers turn because they have a lot of spin-bowling options in their arsenal. On the other hand, New Zealand will depend on Sodhi and Santner while Tom Latham and Devon Conway, who are very good players of spin, will be crucial with the bat.

Snatch a glimpse and the MA Chidambaram Stadium feels quite the contemporary setting for cricket. Tall stands, bucket seats, LED floodlights, a large playing square, a lush outfield and a drainage system that can stand its ground. It’s only when you step away from cricket here that the place reveals itself for what it is: an old soul trying to pass off as a hipster. For, a narrow two-lane road from the Marina Beach leads you to the venue; cement-plastered stairs usher you down and into the stadium; and a small place of worship greets you inside as you make your way to the stands. It’s this bit of old-fashion that makes the place special, and it’s this bit of old-fashion that the teams will need come the World Cup fixture on Friday.

Both Bangladesh and New Zealand will know what to expect. It’s Chennai after all. It will be hot and it will spin. Just how much is usually the answer you seek when you tune into a match here. But if it spins anything like the last game here, Bangladesh will look at it as reparations for all the previous World Cup grounds they have played New Zealand at. Just look at the venues: Chelmsford, Kimberley, Antigua, Hamilton and London. You don’t need to look at the scorecards to know that the ball didn’t spin a mile in any of those games, and that it might spin more than all of them combined this time around.

New Zealand will be glad that Kane Williamson is match-fit when he is. The soft hands, the rotation of strike, the finesse that he brings to the table, especially against spin, could come in handy here. There’s also the white-ball experience of Trent Boult and Tim Southee here to go with that of Mitchell Santner and Devon Conway, who by virtue of their IPL contracts call this very venue their “home”.

Weight it all up and it feels as if New Zealand walk into the contest knowing the venue better, but Bangladesh, being where they are from, come in with greater familiarity with the conditions. It’s all set up for a fascinating context, with the fixture promising to be a crucial turning point in both campaigns.

Bangladesh know that this World Cup in India is their best ever shot at that elusive semifinal berth, and that this game here in Chennai could be the perfect stepping stone towards that. New Zealand, on the other hand, are coming off two wins in two games without so much as needing a full-strength squad, and how they respond to Chepauk’s more alien playing conditions in back-to-back matches against hyperlocal teams could have a knock-on effect on the rest of their campaign.

Squads:

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

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

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