Unbeaten India face determined Kiwis in semis

Unbeaten India led by Rohit Sharma will take on New Zealand in the first semi-final of the ICC Cricket World Cup today at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, India commencing at 2pm.

India concluded the group stage with a perfect record of nine victories in the competition and they defeated New Zealand by 4 wickets at Dharmasala while Mohammed Sami the paceman was the match winner taking 5/54 while Kiwis Daryl Mitchell stroked 130 but it was in vain .
Indians restricted Kiwis to 274 and experienced Virat Kohli hit fine knock of 95 to reach the target comfortably.Winning against New Zealand in the league match gave confidence for Rohit Sharma’s team but Kane Williamson the skipper of New Zealand wants to put up a good challenge to enter the final as they were the runners up in 2019

India displayed a commanding performance in every match. The Indian team appears well-balanced, performing at a high level.They have a strong batting line up comprising Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli,K.L Rahul , Shreyas Iyer and Shuryakumar Yadav while three pacemen Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Sami and Mohammed Siraj are leading from the front while two spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav are exceptional.

India have won four of the last five ODI matches against New Zealand and they have good confidence especially with home advantage and a capacity crowd is expected.

New Zealand started the tournament strongly, winning their opening four games before- losing the same number of matches on a trot. It was their thumping victory over Sri Lanka in Bengaluru on Thursday that took them over the finishing line, with Trent Boult returning with a three-wicket haul in his opening spell and thus warming up for the clash against India.

India’s experienced batter Virat Kohli has amassed 594 runs in nine matches of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 at an average of 99 and a strike rate of 88.52. He has smashed five half-centuries and two centuries and achieved the highest score of 103 not out and Kiwis always make plan to get early wicket of Kohli while three pacemen Trent Boult,Tim Southee,Lokie Ferguson and leg spinner Mitchell Santner are the key bowlers of the New Zealand side.

Meanwhile New Zealand opener Rachin Ravindra has impressed one and all with his impressive batting in this World Cup and his form is a headache for Indian bowlers .

The 23 year old Rachin Ravindra has been the standout performer of the tournament with his exemplary batting resulting in him scoring 565 runs with two half-centuries and three tons in nine games so far. He will relish playing on the surface in Wankhede, which is a fine batting pitch. Ravindra has a style of going about his business that can be maximised in this venue, and the Kiwis will bank on him to give them a good start given the poor form of Devon Conway. The skipper experienced Kane Williamson, Daryl Mitchell Tom Latham and Glenn Phillips form a strong batting line up while Santner the useful spinner could do the damage in bowling.

Meanwhile the pitch at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai is a balanced track. The average score in the first innings in the last 10 matches at this stadium is 318. Fielding first is recommended at the venue, with the team batting second winning 60 per cent of its matches and the dew factor is a concern for the two teams.

The temperature at the Wankhede Stadium is expected to be around 28 degrees Celsius with 49 per cent humidity but according to the weather reports Kolkata semi final between Australia and South Africa could be spoiled by rain tomorrow.

The average first innings score across 33 ODIs at the Wankhede Stadium is 248. The track eases out for the batters due to the dew factor in the second innings, and both teams should aim for a big total if they are to set a target in the semi-final and once again high scoring game is expected today .

Probable Playing XI

India: Rohit Sharma (Capt), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (wk), Suryakumar Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah

New Zealand: Devon Conway, Rachin Ravindra, Kane Williamson (Capt ), Daryl Mitchell, Mark Chapman, Tom Latham (wk), Glenn Phillips, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult.