India will take on New Zealand in the first semifinal of the Cricket World Cup at the Wankhede Stadium on Wednesday, Nov. 15. India have had a marauding run in the tournament so far, winning all their matches quite easily.
The Kiwis, meanwhile, qualified for the semifinals as the fourth team in the league table. India will start as the favourites on Wednesday, but New Zealand have a very good record against them at ICC tournaments.
New Zealand’s southpaws to play a crucial role
New Zealand have some explosive left-handed batters in their line-up. The likes of Devon Conway, Rachin Ravindra, who has probably been the find of the tournament with well over 500 runs in his first World Cup, and Jimmy Neesham all capable of clearing the ground.
Ravindra might be the one that goes after the much-vaunted Indian pace-trio during the powerplay. Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj and Jaspreet Bumrah have been clinical with their line, length and seam position so far and at least one of the Kiwi batters will have to go after them.
Ravindra might well be that batter. Conway also can disrupt the pacers’ line by moving laterally to the off side and then dispatching the ball with a flick over the square leg. Lateral movement while batting might prove to be the key while facing the Indian pacers.
However, there is a catch in that. Ideally, the Kiwis will like one of their left-handers to be around when the spinners, Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav, are on. Both of them turn the ball into the left-hander and hence, at least one of the above three should be there to face the spinners.
India’s redoubtable batting line-up should come good
India has some elite batters like Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Shubman Gill and Suryakumar Yadav, each of whom can alter the course of a match single-handedly. Rohit has never failed to give his team a blistering start in the tournament and will fancy his chances of doing so against the Kiwi pacers, too.
Trent Boult, with his ability to move the ball on both sides, might have the best chance of getting the prized scalp of the Indian skipper. Tim Southee has not been in the best of forms and remains a bit predictable with his out-swingers. Lockie Ferguson has raw pace, but is less effective on slow Indian pitches.
However, he can soften the Indian batters with his short-pitched stuff that other bowlers can benefit from.
Mitchell Santner has had a good tournament so far, but the Indians play spin very well and probably will not be too worried about him. The Indian batters have also advanced down the pitch against both pacers and spinners and the Kiwi bowlers will have to adjust their length accordingly.