World Cup 2019 Semifinal, India vs New Zealand: Combined XI
Two of the most complete and well rounded sides in this edition of the World Cup will be locking horns against each other for a shot at cementing their berth in the final of the tournament.
Sitting on the cusp of making it to the pivotal fixture, India and New Zealand are squaring off in the first semi-final of the tournament in a match which poises to be a jaffer.
The league stage for India was one to remember. With just the sole defeat from their nine encounters, the Asian giants befittingly entered the last four by topping the league, a position which was a testament to the kind of performances they have doled out in the tournament.
Elsewhere for New Zealand, while the first half was a dream start, the second period saw their form waning fast.
From being the only side, alongside India, to be unbeaten in the tournament, the Blackcaps went onto lose three consecutive matches, just about managing to scrape through to the semi-finals by virtue of a better net run-rate than Pakistan.
What particularly impressed us from these two sides was not just their passage into the semi-finals but the kind of performances their worldclass performers has treated the fans to.
Ahead of the clinical contest today, we pick out a combined playing 11 from both the sides based on performances from the league stage.
There is hardly any doubting our selection of Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul in this facet with New Zealand’s recent downward spiral stemming from the indifferent form Colin Munro, Henry Nicholls and Martin Guptill have shown throughout the tournament.
With five centuries to his name, a record in the World Cup, Rohit Sharma has been one of the most dependable players this tournament, finding himself become the highest run getter with the 647 runs in eight matches . KL Rahul is our second opener after his 100 against Sri Lanka.
He’s yet to score a 100 but the five fifties that Virat Kohli has in his kitty have once again reaffirmed the bankability on one of the world's finest batsman.
The Indian captain has acted as the fulcrum of his side, scoring a consistent 441 runs spreading over the entirety of the league. Not including him in our side will be a foolhardy decision and the world’s best batsman in the world is a unanimous pick for us.
Coming in at No.4 is Kohli’s counterpart, Kane Williamson. His 481 runs in eight innings have been vital to New Zeeland’s cause, singlehandedly guiding his side to victories over West Indies and South Africa.
His innings against South Africa in a tricky run chase for New Zealand where Williamson showed the immense composure he’s held in massive reverence for. He’s spoken of in the same breath as Kohli and sees himself earn a spot in our side.
Picking a No. 5 bat was a little tricky, but we have opted for India’s Rishabh Pant solely due to his clean hitting abilities. The Indian wicket-keeper garnered the runs against Bangladesh, scoring 48 in 41 balls to perfectly close out the Indian innings.
With 201 runs and 11 wickets, Jimmy Neesham has been an indispensible player for New Zealand. There are two performances from him which stand out in particular.
His five-wicket haul against Afghanistan saw him provide breakthroughs in quick succession at a time when the Black Caps were finding it tough to make inroads, eventually crumbling Afghanistan from 66-1 to being bowled out for a mere 172.
From India, its Hardik Pandya who comes in with the nine wickets in eight matches seeing us wrap up this facet of our side.
The bowling department sees us opt for the three pacers and the sole spin option. We’ll begin with the pacers first and the one player who makes an advent into our side is the exuberant Jasprit Bumrah.
He cantered into the World Cup as the No.1 bowler and the most recent batch of ICC rankings on Monday see India’s spearhead retain his place at the pinnacle.
If the batting department is about Kohli, the bowling mantle without a doubt falls to Bumrah, who has snared up an impressive 17 wickets to sit tied in third place amongst the highest wicket takers in the tournament so far.
The two-man partnership coming in from New Zealand is in the form of Trent Boult and Lockie Ferguson. While Boult’s selection here is hardly surprising, the inclusion of Lockie Ferguson comes after he’s delivered some astute performances with the ball.
In a time when the second frontline pacer became a big question for New Zealand to answer, Ferguson has emerged as the perfect partner to Boult, using the short ball effectively to catch the batsmen by surprise. His line and length has seen him pitch the ball in the 6-8 metre length persistently, troubling the batsmen with his sudden deviation and pace.
The spin department is held by India’s Yuzvendra Chahal with the wrist spinner having 11 wickets in seven matches. Despite the lacklustre form of Kuldeep Yadav, Chahal has used his drift, giving the ball plenty of air long with getting it to turn away from the batsmen.
Also read – World cup winners list