World Cup 2019: All you need to know about the India vs New Zealand semi-final
Hot favorites India topped the points table of the league phase with 15 points from nine matches, storming into the knockout phase of the World Cup 2019 in their final fixture of the round-robin league stage. They defeated Sri Lanka comprehensively with seven wickets- courtesy magnificent hundreds by Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul.
New Zealand qualified for the elimination round as the fourth-placed team, as Pakistan required a freak win against Bangladesh in their final encounter which was almost beyond the realms of possibility.
Two-time World Cup winner India will take on the 2015 finalists New Zealand in the first semi-final of the tournament on Tuesday, (July 9) at the Old Trafford Cricket Ground in Manchester.
Australia slipped down to second position in the points table after losing to South Africa in their last match of the group stage. The Aussies set up a meeting with hosts England in the second semi-final on Thursday, July 11.
The match between India and New Zealand, which will eventually decide the first finalist, is assured to be a cracker-jack of a contest. It is worth mentioning that both sides have not played each other at this World Cup. Their match at Trent Bridge on June 13 was abandoned without a ball being bowled due to persistent rain.
Let us gain insight into the factors that are going to play a crucial role in the India vs New Zealand semi-final on Tuesday:
The iconic Old Trafford Cricket Ground, situated in Greater Manchester, England is all set to host the first semi-final between the Men in Blue and the Black Caps. It will be the sixth ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 match at the venue. Also known as Emirates Old Trafford, it was first established in 1857 and can easily accommodate up to 25,000 people during an international event. Hosting Tests since 1884, this is the second oldest Test venue in England.
Though the current meteorological predictions suggest a dry day on the 9th, the weather may play spoilsport in the upcoming clash as light showers are forecast. Patchy rain is possible throughout the day. The maximum estimated temperature is 18 degrees Celsius with 15 degrees Celsius being the minimum. Trends suggest the humidity will be around 75-80 percent. Winds are likely to be moderate.
The pitch at Old Trafford has historically been the quickest in England and is suited to batting. The captain winning the toss will look to bat first without any doubt, keeping the overcast conditions in mind. Teams batting first have won all five matches in this World Cup at the venue. The affair on Tuesday is expected to be a run-fest with the pitch offering very little assistance for the bowlers. Some early movement is anticipated but after that initial phase, expect nothing less than a flat batting deck, if slightly slow during the second innings. The highest total posted at this venue is 397 by England against Afghanistan in this tournament itself.
Likely team combinations
India will take the field with their full-strength squad against the Kiwis in the penultimate encounter. Rishabh Pant will presumably feature in the playing eleven. Dinesh Karthik is likely to be played ahead of Kedar Jadhav. Yuzvendra Chahal will replace Ravindra Jadeja, returning to the squad after being rested in the match against Sri Lanka. Bhuvneshwar Kumar might make way for Mohammad Shami who has been quite exceptional with the ball.
Probable XI: Lokesh Rahul, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli (c), Rishabh Pant, MS Dhoni (wk), Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammad Shami, Jasprit Bumrah.
Batting woes concern the Kiwis. Williamson needs Martin Guptill to fire, much like he did in the 2015 edition, where he had emerged as the leading run-scorer of the tournament. He looks set to open the innings alongside Henry Nicolls. Lockie Ferguson had a tight left hamstring and missed the last match against England as a precaution. He will walk into the squad straightaway in place of Matt Henry if declared fit. Ish Sodhi, the experienced leggie might get the nod ahead of Tim Southee as the Old Trafford track is expected to slow down as the match progresses.
Probable XI: Martin Guptill, Henry Nicholls, Kane Williamson(c), Ross Taylor, Tom Latham(wk), Colin de Grandhomme, James Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult.
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