It will be a battle between India’s strong batting line-up against New Zealand’s strong bowling unit
The 2019 World Cup has entered into the knock out stage as red-hot India will face New Zealand in the first semifinal at the Old Trafford in Manchester Tuesday.
India have stormed into the semifinals by getting the top position in the ten-team league as they have lost only one out of nine games.
New Zealand on the other hand, had started the tournament with a bang by remaining unbeaten in their first six matches but saw a serious slump of their performance as they lost their last three matches and could get a top-four spot only the virtue of a better net run-rate.
But, it will be first encounter for today’s semifinalists in the tournament as their group stage game was washed out without a ball being bowled in last month.
New Zealand have a slightly better record against India at the ICC men’s Cricket World Cup stage as they have won four games during seven meetings between them. They also beat the Asian side in the practice match prior to the tournament. But India are way ahead in terms of recent form as they have registered six wins in their recent seven ODIs against the Kiwis.
New Zealand have managed to qualify for the semifinal stage in World Cup for fourth successive time although they are yet to win the elusive crown so far. They were the finalist in the 2015 World cup but lost to hosts Australia at the MCG to be content as runners-up.
India have won two World Cups in their history, first in 1983 and later on 2011, and they are one of the title contenders this time.
It will be a battle between India’s strong batting line-up against New Zealand’s strong bowling unit at the Old Trafford which is the home ground of Lancashire County Cricket Club.
India and New Zealand are led by Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson respectively and these two batsmen are being considered as two of the finest batsmen in this generation. Both the captains are the nucleus of their batting line ups and their teams will look for captain’s knock in the semifinal to defuse the oppoents.
Kohli has scored 442 runs in 8 innings for India with an average of 63.14 and strike rate of 95.05 with five half centuries in the ongoing tournament.
While Williamson is also in brilliant form as the Kiwi skipper has scored 481 runs in seven innings with an average of 96.20 and strike rate of 77.20 with two hundreds and one fifty plus innings.
But India’s man in form with the bat is opener Rohit Sharma as the right-hander has scored a record five centuries in the World Cup and scored 647 runs in eight innings with an average of 92.42 and strike rate of 98.77.
It will be a great contest between Indian top order and New Zealand pace attack as Kiwi seamers Trent Boult and Lockie Fergusosn are having a great tournament so far with 15 and 17 wickets in eight and seven innings respectively.
Both Boult and Fergusosn have bowled with good pace, swing and accuracy in the tournament so far with good economy rate, 4.68 and 4.98 respectively, in batting friendly wickets amid UK conditions.
On the other hand, India’s Jasprit Bumrah is their key weapon in pace attack as the world number one ranked pacer took 17 wickets in the tournament so far with the economy of 4.48 to make a vital contribution in his side’s wins.
A total of 51 ODIs have been played in the Old Trafford so far and the highest team total in this ground is 397 for 6, scored by hosts England recently against Afghanistan in this World Cup. England captain Eoin Morgan smashed an ODI record hitting 17 sixes in that match.
The highest chase in this ground has been recorded as 286 for 4 made by England in 1986 against New Zealand.
Despite those high scores, Old Trafford has been a tough ground for the batsmen as the average score batting first here was just 216 – before India smashed 336 for 5 against Pakistan and England hammered 397 for 6 against Afghanistan in this World Cup. Overall, there have only been five 300-plus scores at Manchester so far in ODIs.
The pitch at Old Trafford has historically been the quickest in England, but will take spin later in the game. So winning toss could be an important factor in tomorrow’s semifinal.
The match will start 10:30 am local time and 3:30pm Bangladesh time.