India v NZ: 3 key battles to look out for in first World Cup knockout match

Published July 8, 2019
Two-time champions India face 2015 runners-up New Zealand on Tuesday in the first World Cup semi-final in Manchester. ─ AFP/File
Two-time champions India face 2015 runners-up New Zealand on Tuesday in the first World Cup semi-final in Manchester. ─ AFP/File

Two-time champions India face 2015 runners-up New Zealand on Tuesday in the first World Cup semi-final in Manchester.

India topped the group stage with seven wins from nine matches, while New Zealand limped into the last four after three successive defeats.

Here, AFP Sport looks at three key battles in the knockout match at Old Trafford:

1) Kohli v Williamson ─ Lead thy way

There will be a sense of deja vu for India's Virat Kohli and New Zealand's Kane Williamson, who were captains of their sides when India and New Zealand met in the 2008 Under-19 World Cup semi-finals.

India captain Virat Kohli will pit his wits against New Zealand counterpart Kane Williamson. ─ AFP
India captain Virat Kohli will pit his wits against New Zealand counterpart Kane Williamson. ─ AFP

Kohli's India won the game and went on to clinch the title at Kuala Lumpur and Williamson would dearly love to avenge that loss when they meet again for much higher stakes on Tuesday.

Kohli has led India into the last four with five half-centuries and is two wins away from what could be his first World Cup triumph as captain of the senior side.

Williamson has also been inspirational for New Zealand, with two masterclass centuries and a fifty as his team return to the semi-finals four years after losing the title match against Australia.

His elegant batting and shrewd brain make for a deadly combination for the Kiwis, who are bidding to cause an upset against India at Old Trafford.

2) Sharma v Guptill ─ opening charge

Rohit Sharma is in the form of his life after hitting a record five centuries in a single edition of the World Cup to lead the tournament's batting charts with 647 runs.

India's Rohit Sharma celebrates after reaching his century against Sri Lanka. ─ AFP
India's Rohit Sharma celebrates after reaching his century against Sri Lanka. ─ AFP

Sharma comes in to the semi-finals fuelled by three successive centuries ─ 102, 104, 103 ─ and two opening stands with KL Rahul of over 180.

But can he continue his blazing run on the big stage?

Martin Guptill's form has been in sharp contrast with that of Sharma as the Kiwi opener managed just 166 runs from his eight outings.

The Black Caps will be hoping for a change of fortune for Guptill, who was in smashing form in the last World Cup when he hit the tournament's best ever individual score of 237 not out against West Indies.

3) Bumrah v Boult ─ Pace wars

Yorker king Jasprit Bumrah has led the Indian pace attack with speed and accuracy and remains key to the team's chances against New Zealand.

New Zealand's Trent Boult celebrates the wicket of Australia's Jason Behrendorff. ─ AFP
New Zealand's Trent Boult celebrates the wicket of Australia's Jason Behrendorff. ─ AFP

Bumrah has claimed 17 wickets in eight matches and has stifled the flow of runs for opposition batsmen with his ability to consistently bowl yorkers in the death overs.

He is ably supported by fellow fast bowlers Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

But New Zealand can also boast significant firepower in their pace attack with left-arm quick Trent Boult leading the way.

With his ability to move the ball both ways, Boult is a threat to India's famed batting line-up and claimed 15 wickets from eight group-stage games.

His 4-30 against West Indies on June 22 at Old Trafford was one of the best spells of fast bowling in this edition of the World Cup, while he also claimed a hat-trick against Australia.

Opinion

Let women be, control the man
Updated 11 Apr 2021

Let women be, control the man

Men need to be educated and then read the riot act. The enforcement of the law must be merciless in such cases.
Twixt torch & tray
11 Apr 2021

Twixt torch & tray

Some may say that the lawyers’ indignation is not without merit.
Behaviour bond
10 Apr 2021

Behaviour bond

States have turned the imitation of repressive laws into an art form...

Editorial

11 Apr 2021

Dissension within PTI

WITH the dust from the PDM’s implosion still not fully settled, the PTI is now faced with growing dissension from...
11 Apr 2021

Power to arrest

A SUPREME Court verdict announced on Thursday spelled out what might be considered a self-evident truth in any...
11 Apr 2021

Unequal vaccine distribution

IT is in times of crisis that we often see the best — or worst — of humanity. In this regard, the pandemic has...
10 Apr 2021

Greater tax burden

THE FBR’s tax target of Rs6tr for the next year under the IMF-mandated fiscal adjustment policies will increase ...
UK travel ban
Updated 10 Apr 2021

UK travel ban

Pakistan continued to allow passengers to arrive without quarantine requirements.
10 Apr 2021

IS in Mozambique

IT was not too long ago when the dreaded shock troops of the self-declared Islamic State group were rampaging ...