More than 11 years and 16,000 combined ODI runs have ticked over since Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson were opposing captains in the semi-final of the 2008 Under-19 World Cup in Malaysia. While Kohli is unlikely to have Williamson stumped from his own bowling on this occasion as well, he’ll be more than happy to match or better that three-wicket victory against Williamson’s troops here.
India are now thoroughly deserving World Cup (CWC) favourites, having overcome the hiccup against host nation England to win seven of eight completed group stage matches while improving the most crucial aspects of their game along the way. Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul are the second opening pair to put together multiple 150+ run stands in a single CWC, while India have lost fewer wickets (46) than any other nation at this tournament.
New Zealand entered their seventh group stage fixture as one of just two sides (alongside India) to be unbeaten at the time, and their status as CWC dark horses was well justified. Now, after just their third run of three consecutive ODI losses in four years, they have to face an opposition who dealt out one of the previous two. Nonetheless, they have scraped through to their seventh World Cup semi-final with an opportunity for a second appearance in a final and a maiden title.
It is predicted to be a cloudy day in Manchester on Tuesday. Rain is expected early in the day but that shouldn’t cause any issues to the proceedings except a delayed start or minor interruption.
The problems for the Blackcaps begin at the top, with an opening partnership of two high-octane batsmen not working: Colin Munro and Martin Guptill have combined for under 300 runs in six partnerships, with 131 of them coming in a single afternoon against a hapless Sri Lanka in Cardiff. That was the only occasion in the entire tournament that the two managed to last through the first six overs.
Place them up against the most economical Powerplay I bowling unit (economy rate of just 4.06) in the competition, and this game could be won or lost early in New Zealand’s innings. Given the significant advantage present to the team batting first at this CWC – just one of the last nine group stage matches were won by the chasers – it could be an incredibly important toss for Williamson to win.
Probable Playing XI
Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli (C), Rishabh Pant, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal.
Colin Munro, Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson (C), Ross Taylor, Tom Latham (wk), Colin de Grandhomme, James Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Lockie Ferguson, Matt Henry, Trent Boult.
IND vs NZ – Players to watch out for
Rohit Sharma (IND) has dominated all who dare take him on, surpassing Kumar Sangakkara’s previous record by compiling five centuries in a single CWC. Sangakkara’s four tons were all consecutive – Rohit gets the chance to match that here.
Kane Williamson has been responsible for 30.23% of NZ’s CWC19 runs, lifting his ODI average in England to 72.00 (21 inns, 1296 runs, SR 88.04) with two tournament centuries.
New Zealand batsmen have been caught behind on 13 occasions at this CWC – the joint-fourth most at any CWC.
Ross Taylor’s four dismissals caught behind is the joint-most of any individual batsman. India have collected 31 sixes (fourth-most) while New Zealand have despatched the ball over the fence on just 20 occasions (ninth).
The last four matches at Old Trafford have been won by the team batting first.