ICC World Cup 2019: 1st Semi-Final, India vs New Zealand, Preview – Inflated Kiwis to face-off formidable XI in semis showdown
All eyes towards the sky as weather gods threaten of a downpour during the match.
Updated - Feb 7, 2020 6:39 pm
Back in 1983, not many gave the Kapil Dev-led India a chance against Bob Willis’ England at the Old Trafford, Manchester in the semifinal clash. But as it turned out to be a scintillating half-centuries from Yashpal Sharma and Sandeep Patil helped India chase down a tricky 214-run target in 54.4 overs. Cut to 2019, the Indians are back in the same stadium to play the semifinal but this time against different opposition.
New Zealand kick-started the tournament on a bang, defeating India comprehensively in the warm-up match and remained unbeaten till their 6th game of the tournament. But three consecutive defeats made them wait a little longer to confirm their berth in semis. They finished fourth in the points table and they have drawn the mighty Indians, who finished on top.
A lot has changed since 1983 for the Indians and for the Kiwis, they no longer are being termed favourites. Their performances against the top five teams has been below par, making experts doubt if they do have the capability to punch Virat Kohli and Co out of the equation. But this is the side which made it to the finals last time and one can never take an opposition for granted in a knockout fixture.
The opening combination finally looks sorted with Rohit and Rahul getting hundreds in the previous game. India might continue with Dinesh Karthik in the XI and the Tamil Nadu lad is also very clear about his role. Rishabh Pant and MS Dhoni’s role will be pivotal in the middle order in case of a top order collapse.
Yuzvendra Chahal could come back for Kuldeep Yadav and Mohammed Shami too might replace Bhuvneshwar Kumar from the previous XI. Jasprit Bumrah’s contribution to the side has been beyond spectacular thus far and they need two more good performances from him to lay hands on the trophy. Jadeja could save his place and maybe India could once again enter with just five bowling options.
Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli (C), Rishabh Pant, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal.
Kane Williamson might go back to the preliminary opening combination of Colin Munro and Martin Guptill with Henry Nicholls not firing. It will be difficult to bench Tom Latham despite his poor form as he is a very good player against spin and also their best keeper.
The whole of New Zealand is hoping for Lockie Ferguson to be 100% fit for this game having missed the clash against England due to a hamstring injury. Trent Boult has had an upper hand against India in their previous meetings but the batting order is slightly different to that in the warm-up fixture. Matt Henry’s form is a concern, but they have decent all-rounders to fill up if he’s having an off-day.
Colin Munro, Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson (C), Ross Taylor, Tom Latham (wk), Colin de Grandhomme, James Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Lockie Ferguson, Matt Henry, Trent Boult.
Focus will be on
Virat Kohli (India)
One of the finest cricketers the game has ever witnessed, Virat Kohli thus far has been outstanding. But a little blemish in his pretty decent campaign in the World Cup is not registering a triple-digit score despite getting five half-centuries. His conversion is often very commendable, but he has found some difficulty in doing so this World Cup. Yet, the fans remain hopeful that the hundred will come when it matters the most, in the semifinal, or the final.
Ross Taylor (New Zealand)
New Zealand’s highest ranked batsmen in ODIs, Ross Taylor has struggled to come up with meaningful contributions in their last three games. With a lot of players already out of form, Kane Williamson would be devastated if Taylor departs quickly and at this point in time, the stakes are very high for the 35-year-old who potentially is playing his final World Cup.
Head to Head
Total Matches – 107 | India won – 55 | New Zealand won – 45 | No Result – 6 | Tied – 1
1 – This will be the first meeting between these sides since 2003 in World Cups (The group stage encounter got washed out).
TV – Star Sports
Live Streaming – Hotstar
Match Timings – 15:00 IST; 10:30 local.