Prime News, International and National Sport, Cricket, London (England), July 8:- Two-time champions India face 2015 runners-up New Zealand on Tuesday in the first ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 semi-final at Old Trafford Cricket Ground in Manchester at 3 pm IST.
India topped the group stage with seven wins from nine matches, while New Zealand limped into the last four after three successive defeats.
There will be a sense of deja vu for India’s Virat Kohli and New Zealand’s Kane Williamson, who were captains of their sides when India and New Zealand met in the 2008 Under-19 World Cup semi-finals. Kohli’s India won the game and went on to clinch the title at Kuala Lumpur and Williamson would dearly love to avenge that loss when they meet again for much higher stakes on Tuesday.
Kohli has led India into the last four with five half-centuries and is two wins away from what could be his first World Cup triumph as captain of the senior side.
Williamson has also been inspirational for New Zealand, with two masterclass centuries and a fifty as his team return to the semi-finals four years after losing the title match against Australia. His elegant batting and shrewd brain make for a deadly combination for the Kiwis, who are bidding to cause an upset against India at Old Trafford.
Rohit Sharma is in the form of his life after hitting a record five centuries in a single edition of the World Cup to lead the tournament’s batting charts with 647 runs. Sharma comes in to the semi-finals fuelled by three successive centuries — 102, 104, 103 — and two opening stands with KL Rahul of over 180.
Black Caps captain Williamson has 481 runs.from his eight outings. The Black Caps will be hoping for a change of fortune for Guptill, who was in smashing form in the last World Cup when he hit the tournament’s best ever individual score of 237 not out against West Indies.
Yorker king Jasprit Bumrah has led the Indian pace attack with speed and accuracy and remains key to the team’s chances against New Zealand. Bumrah has claimed 17 wickets in eight matches and has stifled the flow of runs for opposition batsmen with his ability to consistently bowl yorkers in the death overs. He is ably supported by fellow fast bowlers Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
But New Zealand can also boast significant firepower in their pace attack with left-arm quick Trent Boult leading the way. With his ability to move the ball both ways, Boult is a threat to India’s famed batting line-up and claimed 15 wickets from eight group-stage games. His 4-30 against West Indies on June 22 at Old Trafford was one of the best spells of fast bowling in this edition of the World Cup, while he also claimed a hat-trick against Australia.
Meanwhile, the 45-game group stage ended with the match between Australia and South Africa. Australia’s defeat in their final game means they slipped down to second at the end of the group stages and set up a meeting with England. Aaron Finch’s men beat England by 64 runs at Lord’s at the end of June
India’s seven-wicket win over Sri Lanka at Headingley on Saturday ensured that they ended on a winning note and leapfrogged Australia after their 10-run defeat by South Africa. India’s win and Australia’s defeat meant that the 2011 winners topped the group and face fourth place New Zealand at Old Trafford.
It will be an intriguing match-up as these two sides have not played each other at this World Cup. Their game at Trent Bridge on June 13 was abandoned without a ball bowled.
India finished the group stage with just one defeat to England to finish on 15 points from their nine matches. While after a good start to this World Cup, New Zealand lost three games to Pakistan, Australia and England and ended on 11 points from their nine games. (Inputs: Agencies, NGB)