The 13th edition of the ICC World Cup which has been going on for more than a month has entered its final week, with only three more matches to go. New Zealand, who beat England by nine wickets in the tournament opener on October 5, are among the teams still alive going into the semi-finals along with hosts India as well as Australia and South Africa .
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The Black Caps have had to contend with numerous issues throughout their World Cup campaign including a fresh injury to Kane Williamson, which has forced their captain and star skipper to sit out several matches and batsman Tom Latham ahead instead. They had also fallen off the rails after starting to dream of a four-match winning streak by losing as many games to see the possibility of an early flight back home.
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They had a clinical victory over Sri Lanka in Bengaluru to see off Pakistan and reach the World Cup semi-finals for the sixth time in the last seven editions.
Meanwhile, India were miles ahead of other teams in their home World Cup campaign, ending the league stage with a 9-0 record to finish at the top of the points table.
Among their nine wins in as many tours was a four-wicket victory over New Zealand at the HPCA Stadium Dharamsala which was their first win against the Black Captains in an ICC event in twenty years. Further underlining their credentials as favorites to lift the trophy on Sunday was their 243-run win over South Africa on November 5, a team as clinical as the Indians until that.
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India have been the winning team in this World Cup so far, but they will be well aware of the threat that New Zealand can pose, especially in the winning games of ICC events. And as Williamson put it in the pre-match press conference, what happened in Dharamsala between these two teams will have little bearing on how the semi-final plays out, with another push for the Cup semi-final Earth.
And there are some mini-battles as well as crucial stages that shape Wednesday’s big-scale contest at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium.
More on that below:
Rohit’s powerplay attack
India skipper Rohit Sharma has been in superb form in the tournament so far and is currently fourth on the run-scoring list with 503 runs at an average of 55.88, including an explosive century against Afghanistan.
Rohit’s scintillating form enabled him to lead the Indians to start game after game, a classic example of which was the way he tore the South African attack apart on a hard Eden Gardens pitch that helped him the Men in Blue race to 91. /1 at the end of the power play, and ultimately a full job that won the game of 300 on the board.
The new ball of New Zealand and India exploded
Both India and New Zealand have enviable new-ball attacks that can be equally devastating in the powerplay, although one would have to lean towards the Indian trio of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj as the bowlers. who have more trouble in the first place. power game. The Indian pacers were particularly ruthless against England and South Africa, and ended up killing the competition within the first 10 Tables itself.
New Zealand’s attack has had a mixed run in this tournament compared to the Indians, but the Indians would be well aware of the 2019 semi-final proceedings in Manchester, where Trent Boult and Matt Henry helped reduce India to 5/3 at Old Trafford. Boult knows the Wankhede well, having played for Mumbai Indians in the IPL, and will back himself to find enough movement to once again trouble the Indian top order.
India’s death bowling
It wasn’t just with the new ball that the Indian bowlers were dominant – they were just as effective in every phase of the innings, and that includes death bowling. During the match against New Zealand in Dharamsala, the Black Caps had reached 219/4 at the end of the 40th over and were staring at a total well over 300. Instead, the Men in Blue would pressured by conceding just 26 runs in the game. five more with Kuldeep Yadav dismissing Glenn Phillips, and New Zealand’s innings began to collapse from there. The Kiwis could only muster another 28 runs before being bowled out for 273.
The Indians were not really tested in the death overs the way they would have wanted to in this World Cup as they managed to keep the opposition in check with regular wickets throughout the innings. The way they fought back against Dharamsala in the business end of the innings though should keep them in a good place.
Daryl Mitchell takes center stage
The match between India and New Zealand in Dharamsala also witnessed Daryl Mitchell excelling against the Indian attack and he brought up his 5th ODI century with a patient 130 off 127 deliveries. Not only was it his first World Cup debut, he was the first Kiwi batsman in a World Cup match against India in 48 years!
Mitchell had put together a solid 159-run third-wicket stand with Rachin Ravindra (75), helping the Black Caps recover from a shaky start, and has also made decent contributions in subsequent games, including an onslaught of 31 -ball 43 in their part. A successful 172-run against Sri Lanka, and will certainly be one to watch out for in Wednesday’s semi-final.
Dew in Mumbai
Let’s not forget the dew factor in Mumbai we know life is a living hell for the bowlers who work under lights, especially the slower ones. The afternoon dew was missing at some of the venues for some of the games, but at Wankhede it could play a big role on Wednesday. And this is where India’s indigenous all-rounder Kuldeep Yadav Ravindra Jadeja could take on Black Caps opening spinner Mitchell Santner. In either case, a toss at the Wankhede could play a crucial role.
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