India – Pakistan @ Ahmedabad | October 15, 2 p.m.
1,30,000 capacity for a high-profile game featuring these two arch-rivals will leave the subcontinent in disarray. The stadium was renamed Narendra Modi Stadium in 2021 and has hosted ODI matches since 1984, with the hosts winning 10 of the 18 matches played here. The large field means spinners will enjoy bowling here, but since different fields are offered here, it remains to be seen what they will choose in this context. In the home arena, India prefers to play on black earth pitches that are low bounce and slow. Like most of India’s older venues, Ahmedabad has traditionally not been known for big totals, except on occasion. Since the stadium was opened after renovation, the hosts have played many matches here in all formats and know the conditions better than anyone else. Given that bowling is Pakistan’s strongest side, flat decking might not be a bad option for Rohit Sharma’s charges.
India vs New Zealand @ Dharamshala | October 22, 2pm
This could potentially be a tough match for India given the conditions, as the Black Caps may be more at home. The picturesque site, at 1,317 meters above sea level, offers one of the softest and fastest fields in India. So playing against the Kiwis, who have a deadly attack and a team that India considers a pain in the flesh, will be a challenge. One of India’s newer venues, it has only hosted four ODIs, and the hosts have won two of them. An afternoon start gives some relief to the batsmen, but because of the overhanging clouds, this will always be a place where the think tank has to be flexible in its approach. If the sun looks out, the batsmen can have some fun as the high altitude makes the ball fly for a long time. In the spotlight, if the cold weather sets in, it can be difficult for the team to play second bowling when there is dew all around. The court and field were recently re-paved, and India hasn’t played an ODI since 2017. They’re hoping to play Australia or Afghanistan before the World Cup to get a feel for the high score.
India – England @ Lucknow | October 29, 2pm
After providing sluggish pitches during the IPL, the UPCA has re-paved the ground at Ekana Stadium, another of the new venues where the big-ticket game involving the hosts and the defendingThe champions of the world. The home team has yet to play a 50-over fixture. The only time they participated in an ODI against South Africa, the game turned into a 40-over contest due to rain, which they lost. So in terms of conditions, India don’t know what to expect. Passing the field so close to the World Cup is a big risk, but it was deemed necessary. Afghanistan used the field as their home ground, playing three ODIs against the West Indies, and they were all low-scoring, and the total of 250 points was exceeded only once. The blackgrass content means this is a place where spinners and taking tempo away from the ball will play a key role. Now, at the beginning of winter, we’ll have to wait and see what effect the dew will have on this field. India picked the right team to play here, as they hope their spinners can pin down the English, who can have some fun on a flat field.
India – South Africa @ Kolkata | November 5, 2:00 pm
The iconic venue that failed to host India during the 2011 World Cup will again host South Africa at the venue where they played their first match since returning to Russia in 1991. It’s easy to find some of the most passionate fans in Calcutta, so it will be a cordon of sorts for the big day in November. The hosts have played 22 ODIs here and won 13 of them. And since the start of the new millennium, only five teams have won away in 14 matches at Eden Gardens. From March 20, 2011 to September 2017, teams batting first won six consecutive matches as they always got slower in the lights. In recent years, the coverage has gone from slow spinning to one that helps seamstresses. So South Africa might not worry too much about playing the home team here. Since this is the penultimate game in the league for India, by then they will know where they stand in terms of qualifying for the semifinals. Rosa could definitely be a factor here.