A strong and an in-form Indian top-order, led by the top-scorer of the tournament Rohit Sharma will take guard as they hope to have potentially two good days in the middle. However, a deceptive New Zealand pace unit will be prepared to bowl in the corridor of uncertainties to exploit the Indian vulnerabilities in the first ICC World Cup 2019 semi-final at the Old Trafford, Manchester on Tuesday.
It has been a battle where Virat Kohli’s men have been effective to the extent that they have not had to worry about a suitable ‘Plan B’, but in the knock out stage of the tournament, where it matters the most, the Indian team would not want to give anything away and stick to the plans which have worked for them so far in the tournament.
An impressive World Cup campaign would amount to nothing at all if India lose to New Zealand- a team which has a good record in the World Cup.
However, in semi-finals, India have an impressive 3-3 record from their six appearances while New Zealand have won only one of their seven matches.
To India’s solace, New Zealand’s competition has gone on a downward spiral during their last three matches, however, their great run in the first few matches helped them beat Pakistan to make it to the last four spot.
It could not have been a better semi-final given that Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and Virat Kohli, with a total of 1347 runs among them, will be up against the likes of Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult and Matt Henry who have shared 42 wickets among them.
However, India’s middle order is India’s only apparent weakness. Barring Hardik Pandya, the other middle order batsmen haven’t scored as many runs as India would have liked and if India get a poor start, which they haven’t had in the tournament, it could be a tough ask for the middle order.
As far as New Zealand batting is concerned, they are no match to India where a much criticised Dhoni has also scored 300 runs. Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor will be the key wickets for India and they would look to dismiss them early.
India will look to bat first if they win the toss and so will New Zealand but on a day where everything is at stake and stakes are high, the team that handles the pressure well will inevitably win the match.
Going by just the stats, form, and man to man abilities though, India start as favourites against the Kiwis.
The teams meet at the Old Trafford, Manchester. Live action begins from 3 pm (IST) onwards.
India: Virat Kohli (c), Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, MS Dhoni (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant (wk), KL Rahul, Mohammed Shami, Mayank Agarwal, Rohit Sharma, Kuldeep Yadav
New Zealand: Kane Williamson (c), Ross Taylor, Tom Latham (wk), Tom Blundell (wk), Mitchell Santner, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Colin Munro, Ish Sodhi, Henry Nicholls, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Jimmy Neesham