World Cup 2019: SWOT Analysis, X-Factors and Strongest XI of the Semi-Finalists
The World Cup has entered into the knockout phase, with four teams left to battle it out among themselves for the most coveted silverware of cricket.
India, Australia, England and New Zealand have advanced to the semi-finals on the back of some excellent brand of cricket played by the sides.
The first semi-final shall be taking place between India and New Zealand at Manchester, whereas eternal rivals Australia and England shall lock horns in the second semi final at Birmingham.
The teams have had a phenomenal run in the league season, backed by some standout performances and opportunities capitalised by them.
At the same time, there have been certain weak areas in each team, which were exploited by the oppositions due to which no team is unbeaten.
Let's have a look at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, along with the key players, X-Factors and strongest XI of the semi-finalists:
#4 New Zealand
Strengths- The formidable batting of Kane Williamson and the three-pronged pace attack form the strengths of New Zealand.
The Kiwis captain has been in scintillating touch in the tournament, having scored 481 runs in seven innings, including two centuries. His runs have always come in tough situations for the team, which adds more value to his achievement. Further, the pace attack comprising of Trent Boult, Lockie Ferguson and Matt Henry has posed many challenges for the batsmen, with 42 wickets amongst them.
Weaknesses- The form of the openers and the middle order has been a matter of concern for the Kiwis. Martin Guptill has failed to emulate his feats of the 2015 World Cup, while vice-captain Tom Latham has scored just 98 runs in seven innings, out of which 57 came in the last game.
This has been mounting pressure on Williamson and the lower middle order batsmen, forcing them to take risks.
Opportunities- New Zealand has a plethora of all-rounders, who are disparate in their approach to the game. Colin de Grandhomme, James Neesham, and Mitchell Santner can come handy in the face of any pressure exerted by the opposition, irrespective of the department. They provide great balance and versatility to the side, and come add to the options in the hands of the captain with the bat as well as the ball.
Threats- New Zealand batsmen, other than Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor, are susceptible to spin. This technical weakness was hugely exploited by the Indian wrist spinners while touring the side in early 2019, and would look to emulate the feat once again at Manchester.
Further, they have not posed a serious challenge in front of any big side while chasing. The hopes have largely been dependent on the shoulders of Williamson, and to an extent de Grandhomme, the runs have failed to come.
They lost their last two games with hefty margins while chasing, and were also given a run for their money by Bangladesh in the initial stages of the tournament.
Key Players- Kane Williamson, Trent Boult, Mitchell Santner
X-Factor- Colin de Grandhomme
Strongest XI- Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Kane Williamson (c), Ross Taylor, Tom Latham (wk), James Neesham, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Trent Boult, Matt Henry, Lockie Ferguson.
Also read – World cup most wickets