The daily tournament preview charges down the wicket with Cricket World Cup tips for the first semi-final between India and New Zealand.
19:30 (AEST), Tue 8th Jul @ Old Trafford, Manchester
History: Played 106: India 55 V New Zealand 45 (1 Tie, 5 No Results)
Last meeting: February 3, 2019: India d New Zealand by 35 runs at Westpac Stadium
Final Thoughts: The Cricket World Cup semi-finals get underway at Old Trafford, with top-ranked India taking on fourth-placed New Zealand.
India jumped into first – and a more favourable semi match-up – via a victory over Sri Lanka and Australia’s loss to South Africa on Saturday. Out-of-sorts New Zealand limped into the knockouts on a three-match losing streak.
The teams’ heavyweight clash in the first fortnight of the tournament was abandoned without a ball being bowled.
India’s only loss so far was to desperate England on June 30. Since then, the 2011 champs have accounted for Bangladesh (28 runs) and Sri Lanka (7 wickets). The mercurial Rohit Sharma has smashed three straight centuries and leads the Cricket World Cup’s run charts (647 at 92.42). Jasprit Bumrah (17) is their leading wicket-taker.
The Black Caps lost their last three matches to Pakistan (6 wickets), Australia (86 runs) and England (119 runs). They only scraped into the semis on net run-rate.
Dreadful top-order batting – with Martin Guptill and fellow openers Colin Munro and Henry Nicholls unable to find runs – have been at the heart of NZ’s decline.
Kane Williamson (481 runs at 96.20) has carried his team’s batting. But Tom Latham’s slump-busting half-century against England was cause for optimism. Meanwhile, their leading wicket-taker, Lockie Ferguson (17), is back from a hamstring complaint that ruled him out of the England clash.
India with recent rivalry edge
India have had the wood on New Zealand at ODI level in recent years. They carved out a convincing 4-1 series victory in the Shaky Isles in January.
But New Zealand earned a confidence-boosting six-wicket win over India in a Cricket World Cup warm-up match, with Trent Boult (4/33) and Taylor (71 off 75) starring.
This is their first Cricket World Cup meeting since 2003, when India won by seven wickets in South Africa.
The pressure is all on India, who head in as $1.33 favourites. New Zealand is capable of a boilover – they still boast a line-up laced with match-winners – but their recent form just doesn’t warrant any confidence.
Win or lose, though, Kane Williamson can be depended on to show his class for the Kiwis. Captaincy counterpart Virat Kohli will also be eager to stamp his authority on the semi – the batting genius has made a number of good starts but his top score so far is 82.