Home Sports India vs New Zealand: Factors that will decide ICC World Cup semifinal

India vs New Zealand: Factors that will decide ICC World Cup semifinal

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India finished the league stage with a 9-0 record to finish at the top of the points table

ICC World Cup 2023: With just three matches remaining, the ICC World Cup 2023, which has been going on for more than a month, is nearing its conclusion. New Zealand, who on October 5th, had soundly defeated England by nine wickets in the tournament’s opening match, has reached the semi-finals, along with hosts India, Australia, and South Africa.

Throughout their World Cup campaign, the Black Caps have faced a number of challenges, including a recent injury to star batsman and captain Kane Williamson that has forced him to miss several games, with keeper-batsman Tom Latham taking his place. After winning four straight games to start the season with a dream start, they had also fallen off the rails and were facing the prospect of an early flight home.

They had to defeat Pakistan with a convincing victory over Sri Lanka in Bengaluru in order to advance to the World Cup semi-finals for the sixth time in the previous seven years.

India, on the other hand, finished the league stage with a 9-0 record to finish at the top of the points table. This puts them miles ahead of other teams in their home World Cup campaign.

They had defeated New Zealand by four wickets at Dharamsala’s HPCA Stadium, their ninth consecutive victory in as many games. It was their first victory over the Black Caps in an ICC tournament in twenty years. What further underlined their credentials as solid favourites to lift the trophy on Sunday was their 243-run thrashing of South Africa on 5 November, the team that had been as clinical as the Indians until then.

Although India has dominated this World Cup thus far, they are well aware of the threat that New Zealand can present, particularly in ICC tournament knockout games. Furthermore, Williamson stated at the pre-game press conference that the World Cup semifinal carries a different kind of pressure, so the events between these two teams in Dharamsala will not have much of an impact on how the semi-final plays out.

And the thrilling match on Wednesday at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium is shaped by a number of mini-battles as well as pivotal moments.

Rohit Sharma’s aggressive power play

Rohit Sharma, the captain of India, has been playing brilliantly so far in the tournament. With 503 runs at an average of 55.88, including an explosive century against Afghanistan, he is currently ranked fourth on the list of run scorers.

The way that Rohit tore apart the South African attack on a challenging Eden Gardens pitch helped the Men in Blue race to 91/1 at the end of the powerplay and eventually post a match-winning total of 300 on the board. Rohit’s explosive form has allowed him to get the Indians off to fiery starts in every game.

New ball prowess of India and New Zealand

Though one would have to lean towards the Indian trio of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, and Mohammed Siraj as the bowlers who have unleashed more mayhem in the first powerplay, both New Zealand and India have impressive new-ball attacks that could be equally destructive. Against South Africa and England in particular, the Indian pacers were particularly brutal, ending the match in the first ten overs.

Compared to the Indians, the New Zealand attack has had a mixed record in this tournament. However, the Indians would be well aware of the events of the Manchester 2019 semi-final, where Trent Boult and Matt Henry had contributed to India’s defeat at Old Trafford by a score of 5/3. Boult, who played for the Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League, is too familiar with the Wankhede and will rely on himself to generate enough movement to pose a threat to the Indian top order once more.

Death overs threat of Indian bowlers

Not only have the Indian bowlers been outstanding with the new ball, but they have also been excellent in every aspect of an innings, including death bowling. The Black Caps were looking at a total well over 300 at the end of the 40th over in their match against New Zealand in Dharamsala, having reached 219/4.

Instead, after Glenn Phillips was dismissed by Kuldeep Yadav and the Men in Blue gave up just 26 runs in the next five overs, the innings for New Zealand started to fall apart. Only 28 more runs could be scored by the Kiwis before they were out for 273.

Since they’ve been able to consistently take wickets throughout the innings, the Indians haven’t really been put to the test in the final overs of this World Cup as they would have liked to. However, they should be well-served by the manner they retaliated against Dharamsala at the end of the innings.

Since they’ve been able to consistently take wickets throughout the innings, the Indians haven’t really been put to the test in the final overs of this World Cup as they would have liked to. However, they should be well-served by the manner they retaliated against Dharamsala at the end of the innings.

Daryl Mitchell in the middle overs

All-rounder Daryl Mitchell proved exceptional against the Indian attack in that India-New Zealand game in Dharamsala, reaching his fifth ODI century with a patient 130 off 127 deliveries. It was not just his first World Cup century, but also the first in 48 years by a Kiwi batter against India in a World Cup match!

Mitchell will undoubtedly be one to watch out for on Wednesday’s semi-final as he helped the Black Caps recover from a rough start with a strong 159-run third-wicket partnership with Rachin Ravindra (75). Mitchell has also made decent contributions in the games that have followed, including an attacking 31-ball 43 in their successful 172-run chase against Sri Lanka.

The dew factor in Mumbai

Not to be overlooked is the dew factor in Mumbai, which is known to make bowlers’ lives under the lights—especially the slower ones—a living hell. In certain games, the evening dew had been absent from some of the locations, but on Wednesday at Wankhede, it might be crucial.

This is where Mitchell Santner, the front-line spinner for the Black Caps, may be outclassed by the prolific Indian spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja. Either way, throw could wind up being very important at the Wankhede.