India won their final group game against Sri Lanka by 7 wickets at Headingley and leapfrogged Australia to top the group. The Virat Kohli led side head into the final four full of confidence. It seemed a chance of semi-final revenge against the English was probable until Australia’s surprise defeat to South Africa on Saturday evening.
Instead, India play a New Zealand side at Old Trafford that has limped into the last four off the back to three consecutive defeats to Pakistan, Australia, and England. The Black Caps edged out Pakistan on net run rate and are considered rank outsiders to lift the trophy after the poor recent form, but India cannot take them lightly in a one-off knockout encounter.
ROHIT’S CLASS HAS MOMENTUM WITH INDIA
India suffered their only loss in the tournament against England at Edgbaston and are yet to take the field against New Zealand this summer after their group encounter was rained off.
Rohit Sharma is the form player with a tournament-leading run tally of 647, nine ahead of Australia’s David Waner. He became the first player to ever hit five World Cup hundreds in a single tournament during the final group against Sri Lanka. His eight innings so far have seen him record scores of 122*, 57, 140, 1, 18, 102, 104 and 103 and average 92.42. (Sharma is 3.15 to be the top batsman in this game on the Betrally India App).
Captain Virat Kohli scored five fifties on the bounce through the group stage and has 442 runs at 63.14 and will be keen to notch three figures. KL Rahul made 111 in the last game against Sri Lanka to ensure the top three go into the last four in confident mood.
The brilliant Jasprit Bumrah leads the India bowling charts with 17 wickets after claiming three more scalps against Sri Lanka and his death bowling has been superb and with an economy rate of 4.48, he is a huge asset. Mohammad Shami has 14 wickets and Yuzvendra Chahal 11.
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The Kiwis began their campaign with three wins against the lowest ranked sides in the competition but have now lost all momentum and India are firm favorites to reach the final. The no result game against India saw New Zealand take a point, which ultimately was enough to deny a resurgent Pakistan. Kane Williamson’s side may not be so lucky this time around.
Williamson (481) was New Zealand’s run-scorer during the group stage, with two match-winning hundred and is the key man for Kiwi hopes. But the pressure on Williamson and Ross Taylor (261 runs) has been huge with the openers rarely hanging around long.
Lockie Ferguson has 17 wickets and impressed with his pace and Trent Boult has underlined his credentials as one of the best in the world with 15 scalps, including a hat-trick. The rest of the bowling attack has appeared a little toothless at times and a lot with hinge on Boult’s opening spell with the new ball. If he can rip out the Indian top order, as he did in a warm-up game, then the Kiwi’s could stifle the batsman coming in lower down who will be caught between advancing the score and protecting a long tail.
BOTH SIDES KNOW THEIR BEST XIs
Mohammed Shami and Yuzvendra Chahal were rested for the final group match as Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav were given game time but expect them to be restored to the playing XI. Dinesh Karthik also looks set to continue in place of Kedar Jadhav and bat at number seven, but it still leaves a long tail below him in the order.
It seems unlikely that the New Zealanders will make too many changes from the team that faced England at the end of the group stage. Lockie Ferguson could return in place of Tim Southee and it’s a toss-up between out of form openers Henry Nicholls and Colin Munro to play at the top of the order.
DON’T WRITE OFF THE BLACK CAPS
There is precious little value on India and New Zealand can beat any side in the world on their day. With the weather forecast gloomy for Tuesday (and Wednesday’s reserve day) the Kiwi seamers could cause the India batting line-up some problems. Taking out the top three early is New Zealand’s main hope of winning this game and conditions could suit them.
- New Zealand to win at 12/5 is a better bet than you might think (Bet365)
- MS Dhoni to be India’s top batsman at 12/1 (PaddyPower Betting App) – if India lose early wickets there is one man that will be expected to rebuild
- Kane Williamson to be Top New Zealand batsman at 5/2 (BetFred App)
- A hundred to be scored in the match at 8/11 (Bet365 Sports App).