Cricket World Cup Semi-Final: India vs. New Zealand
Venue: Old Trafford Cricket Ground, Manchester
Date: Tuesday, 9 July 2019
India – 0.33
New Zealand – 2.35
India and New Zealand meet in the first semi-final of the 2019 Cricket World Cup at Old Trafford on Tuesday morning.
The match pits India, the group stage winners, against the Black Caps who finished fourth in pool play. India reached this stage with 15 points from their nine group games, compiling a record of seven wins, one defeat, and one draw.
Ironically, that one draw came against New Zealand, with the group stage match between the two sides being abandoned before a ball was bowled because of bad weather. That means that the first semi-final of the tournament will be a fresh matchup in England, with the most recent meeting between the two countries being a warm-up match for this tournament. In that game, New Zealand bowled out India for 179 and went on to win by six wickets.
New Zealand took fourth place in the group stage by beating the teams they had to and losing to the heavier hitters. It is a big worry for the Black Caps that in their last two group games they were bowled out for 157 by Australia and then 186 by England. Their form will need to turn around in a hurry if they are going to beat the favoured, but vulnerable, Indians.
It is a fascinating contest and one that should be very different from the power display offered by England and Australia in the other semi-final. At this point in the competition, you would expect the remaining teams to be dominant, but that is far from the case here with a couple of flawed cricket teams that makes for an intriguing clash.
New Zealand’s issue is an opening batting partnership that has reached crisis proportions. They have played eight games in England and in five of those eight games No. 3 batsman Kane Williamson has had to walk to the crease inside the third over. Their openers just aren’t getting the job done, requiring the ace to work hard just to keep them in the game. Expect to see spinner after spinner thrown at Williamson here.
India, on the other hand, have looked mercurial at times. Interestingly though, the Black Caps bowling roster is one that seems built to give Virat Kohli and his side problems. Trent Boult and Lockie Ferguson are bowlers that can give India trouble, with the left-arm seaming of Boult of particular worry to the favourites.
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New Zealand Top Bowler – Trent Boult 2.20
Boult may not have been the most dominant of the New Zealand bowlers at this tournament but here is his chance to shine. The natural angle of his left-arm seaming away from the Indian batsmen is going to present a real test for the favourites underworked middle order and a late order that completely falls off after the hard slogging Hardik Pandya enters at No. 7.
India Top Batsman – Rohit Sharma 2.20
Sharma and Kohli, along with the work of KL Rahul, have done basically all the work for India in England. Sharma is the top run scorer in the tournament with 647 from eight games, smashing five centuries and a 50 along the way. New Zealand will try to take the wicket of Sharma before he settles, but if he finds his groove then watch out.
No one is giving New Zealand a chance here, but things are playing in their favour more than most realize. The weather, overcast with a chance of rain, falls perfectly for their seam attack. If they can find a way to get through the top of the Indian order without taking too much damage, then an upset is on the cards.
New Zealand at 2.35 is the pick on BetXChange.