Prime News, International and National Sport, Cricket, Manchester (England), July 9:- Two-time champions India after proving their dominance in the league stage will look to brush aside New Zealand in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 and book a final berth when the two sides face-off in the 1st semi-final at the Old Trafford Cricket Ground in Manchester today at 3 pm Indian Standard Time.
All-round performances and some individual batting prowess saw India top the Cricket World Cup 2019 league stage. India, whose league stage match against New Zealand was washed out, have suffered just one defeat at this World Cup so far, against England, and ended on top of the 10-team group stage, making them strong favourites to beat the Black Caps.
New Zealand, who only qualified for the semi-finals in fourth place on the basis of net run-rate, have lost their last three games — against Pakistan, holders Australia and England.
This will be the seventh time India will be playing in a World Cup semi-final while New Zealand will feature in their 8th last-four clash. India have won three and lost three so far while the Kiwis have lost 6 and advanced to the final just once so far, in 2015 when they lost in the World Cup final against Australia.
Both these teams have a lot of experience of playing in the knockouts, but this is the first time they will face each other in a World Cup semi-final match. Overall in World Cups, New Zealand hold a 4-3 advantage over India.
Today’s game is being touted as a match-up between India’s batsmen and New Zealand’s fast bowlers. It couldn’t have been more enticing that Rohit Sharma (647runs), KL Rahul (360 runs) and Virat Kohli (442 runs) with a cumulative contribution of 1347 runs will meet their match in Lockie Ferguson (17 wickets), Trent Boult (15 wickets) and Matt Henry (10 wickets), who have shared 42 wickets between them. Not to forget that all-rounder Jimmy Neesham (11 wickets) and Colin de Grandhomme (5 wickets) take the NZ seamers’ tally to 58 wickets.
Tuesday looks to be a predominantly cloudy day, although there should be some brighter spells at times. There is a chance of rain at times throughout Tuesday. Most of the rain will be light and patchy, so there shouldn’t be any long interruptions to play.
The second semi-finals will be played between England and Australia at Birmingham on Thursday and the finals on Sunday in London. (Inputs: Agencies, NGB)