India will be aiming to beat New Zealand for the first time in a World Cup clash in England. (Image credit: Getty Images)
Rohit Sharma has hit five centuries in one edition. Virat Kohli has scored five consecutive 50+ scores. New Zealand’s entire team has scored just nine fifties and two centuries. In response, India’s four batsmen have scored 10 fifties and seven centuries. Those are the statistics Kane Williamson’s side has to face. KL Rahul’s addition has ensured Shikhar Dhawan’s absence has not been felt and it has given the Indian batting a different dimension. Add Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and the spinning duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal, India have the perfect team. On the other hand, New Zealand’s batting is only reliant on Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor.
After a solid start, Martin Guptill has been a big let-down and with Colin Munro and Goerge Worker also not contributing, New Zealand’s opening conundrum is a big problem. The lack of partnerships at the top, something which India is mastering with ease with century partnerships at will, gives India the edge. It is thus no surprise that a tweet from Sachin Tendulkar would go so far to wish MS Dhoni all the best for the next two games.
New Zealand is flying under the radar and according to coach Gary Stead, it suits them perfectly. No one is giving the Blackcaps a chance, but New Zealand has always known to punch above their weight. It is no wonder they have reached the semi-finals seven times with one final. Before the World Cup started, New Zealand handed India a loss in the warm-up game and it was swing and accuracy which did it. Trent Boult, who has been the star for New Zealand in the bowling along with Lockie Ferguson, will be aiming for a repeat of their form in the start. A collective performance from New Zealand and smart tactics from Williamson will be key if they are to beat India.
India's batting order is an envy for the rest of the world. Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli are all in prime form and for them, batting first or second is no problem. With MS Dhoni lower down the order and Hardik Pandya's heroics, India's batting is invincible. There might be changes in the bowling, with Mohammed Shami replacing Ravindra Jadeja.
Probable XI: Lokesh Rahul, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli(c), Rishabh Pant, MS Dhoni(w), Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah
While India's batting is the envy of the world, New Zealand's batting has been heavily reliant on Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor. The poor form of the openers has resulted in New Zealand losing momentum heavily ahead of the semi-final. Lockie Ferguson could replace Matt Henry and Trent Boult and Tim Southee, considered one of the best new ball pairs, could be reunited for this match.
Probable XI: Martin Guptill, Henry Nicholls, Kane Williamson(c), Ross Taylor, Tom Latham(w), Colin de Grandhomme, James Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult
Who will win?
When it comes to depth in both the batting and bowling, India hold all the aces and thus are the odds-on favourites to win the match. However, if New Zealand can manage to overcome their opening woes and their bowlers deliver a strong show, then they can cause an upset.
Weather and Pitch
The forecast in Manchester has scattered showers throughout the day. The forecast is slightly better on July 9 as compared to July 10, where there are 70 per cent chances of rain. With cloudy conditions, there will be some assistance with the new ball.
Stadium and Timings
The encounter will take place at Old Trafford in Manchester at 15:00 pm IST local.