India’s win against Sri Lanka in their final group stage match coupled with South Africa upsetting Australia saw Virat Kohli’s men end the ICC World Cup 2019 league stages on top of the table.
As such, they will now play New Zealand, the side that finished fourth. The Kiwis began their campaign well enough but faltered through the latter part of the round robin stage.
Pakistan had the same number of points as New Zealand but it was the latter that made it to the semi-finals thanks to a superior Net Run Rate (NRR).
Nevertheless, the 2015 runners-up pose a significant threat to India’s dream of becoming 3-time world champions. Here are 5 players who could swing the tie in New Zealand’s favour.
The New Zealand skipper has been the pick of their batsmen so far, having scored 481 runs that includes two centuries and a fifty. Widely regarded as one of the best batsmen in world cricket today, Williamson will have to score big against India.
It says a lot about how dependent the Black Caps are on their skipper that no other batsman from the side has registered a century thus far. But much like his counterpart Virat Kohli, Williamson is at his best when his team needs him most, making his wicket the prize one for India when they clash.
The veteran batsman has been New Zealand’s second-highest run-getter in the tournament thus far, scoring 261 runs at an average of 37.28, including two half-centuries. He hasn’t been as prolific as Williamson but his experience has helped them out of tricky situations.
Taylor has often had to bat deep and put a price on his wicket due to the openers struggling for runs but has put together some good partnerships with Williamson and can hit the ball a long way, making him a dangerous customer to deal with especially if he can bat for long periods.
The all-rounder from Auckland is both New Zealand’s third-highest run-scorer as well as their third-highest wicket-taker in the tournament. He’s scored 201 runs in the group stages and taken a respectable 11 wickets.
Neesham’s recent form has been patchy but he has the ability to affect the game with both bat and ball while also being a decent hand in the field. How successfully India can negate his three-pronged threat will determine their fate in the semi-final.
New Zealand’s leading wicket-taker in the tournament with a grand total of 17 scalps at an average of 18.58, Ferguson has been a threat to opposition batting line-ups due to his ability to regularly clock speeds around and above the 150 km/h mark.
He missed the final league match against England with a tight hamstring but the decision to rest him was a precautionary one to give him some rest ahead of the semi-final, meaning India will have to deal with an express pace bowler who is fresh – never an easy task.
He became the first bowler from New Zealand to bag a hat-trick in World Cups when he achieved the feat against Australia and Boult, who is their second highest wicket-taker of the tournament, will be looking to add to his tally when he takes on a team he enjoys facing.
Given the Indian batting line-ups susceptibility to left-arm swing bowling, Boult will arguably be Williamson’s go-to man for wickets in the semi-final. How well the likes of Rohit Sharma and Kohli see out Boult will determine how many runs they can score.