India will square off against New Zealand in the semi-final and many are predicting Virat Kohli's side are the favorites to reach the final. (Image credit: Getty Images)
Sachin Tendulkar wished MS Dhoni a happy 38th birthday on July 7. The former India captain, whose legendary status and popularity have grown in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, continues to dazzle millions of fans with his wicketkeeping skills and with the bat. Dhoni is the only captain to have won all three major ICC events and under his tenure, India also scaled the No.1 ranking in Tests. However, Tendulkar’s tweet on Dhoni’s birthday is interesting ahead of the World Cup semi-final clash against New Zealand in Old Trafford. In the second line, he has said, “All the best for the next two games.”
The reference for the next two games suggests that New Zealand have no chance of toppling India in the semi-final on July 9. On current form, India is the odds-on favourites to beat New Zealand and enter the final on July 14 in Lord's as their batting and bowling have been in prime form. On the other hand, New Zealand has struggled with their batting and they have suffered a massive dip in form, losing three consecutive games for the first time in a World Cup.
However, in the pre-match press conference, New Zealand coach Gary Stead has said the team is not unfazed by being under the radar. "I hope everyone thinks that. I'm not spending a lot of time worrying about what other people are thinking, whether we should be here or not. India is a quality team. There's no doubt they've got match-winners right throughout their line-up. Hopefully, you'll see what Kiwis are made of out there as well, that 'no die' attitude and I guess stand up when we need to,” Stead said.
When asked about Tendulkar’s tweet, Stead replied, “I didn't know that but hopefully we have a 'birthday' coming up and he wishes one of our guys it too.”
India’s league game against New Zealand in Trent Bridge was abandoned without a ball being bowled and Virat Kohli’s team would be hoping to repeat the 2003 World Cup heroics when they defeated New Zealand in Centurion and knocked them out of the tournament which was held in South Africa.