Mumbai: As the cricketing world eagerly anticipates the match between India and New Zealand at Wankhede Stadium, the focus is on the venue’s unique characteristics that tend to favour the batsmen.
Pitch dynamics are expected to play a crucial role in the match. Initially, pace bowlers may find some advantage, but as the game progresses, the conditions are likely to shift in favour of the batsmen. The average score at Wankhede in pre-World Cup matches stands at 271, but in World Cup encounters, it has soared to an impressive 350. The toss, therefore, becomes a pivotal factor, with the team batting first having a historical advantage.
Wankhede has hosted four World Cup matches so far, and interestingly, in all three where a team batted first, victory favoured them. In the last 27 ODIs at this venue, teams batting first emerged victorious 14 times, highlighting the importance of setting a substantial target.
Compared to other stadiums in India, Wankhede boasts shorter boundary lines, measuring approximately 64 to 68 metres across the square boundaries and 68 to 72 metres along the straighter boundaries. This configuration raises concerns among bowlers who fear an onslaught of sixes and fours from the power-hitting batsmen.
The pitch conditions have been favourable for pacers in previous matches, with 47 wickets falling at an average of 6.60. In contrast, spinners found the going tough, conceding only 11 scalps at an average of 5.9 runs per over.
The impending clash between India and New Zealand intensifies the intrigue, with both teams eyeing victory in the crucial encounter. The toss will likely play a significant role, and the teams may opt to capitalise on the batting-friendly conditions to post imposing scores.