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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 21 May 2024

Battles within the war today as India take on New Zealand in World Cup semi-final

A list of few match-ups ahead of today’s clash at the Wankhede

Indranil Majumdar Calcutta Published 15.11.23, 09:56 AM
Rohit Sharma and Trent Boult

Rohit Sharma and Trent Boult The Telegraph Online

Forget the round-robin league stage, the real test is here. There will be no room for slip-ups. Whoever is good on the day will progress to the final. Every team will come prepared and the players will have to perform at their best.

When India take on New Zealand in the first semi-final, the match might be won or lost in the contests within the contests. Who will trump whom? The Telegraph draws up a few match-ups ahead of We­dnesday’s semi-final at the Wankhede.

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Rohit Sharma vs Trent Boult

The Team India captain has been in blazing form in this World Cup while the left-arm New Zealand pacer struggled to find his rhythm in the first Powerplay. He did regain some of his ability to swing the ball in their last match against Sri Lanka though, grabbing three wickets. Boult has been Rohit’s long-time nemesis having dismissed him four times in the 50-over format. In the Dharamsala league encounter, Boult was a bit expensive, going for 60 runs with only the wicket of Shreyas Iyer to show. He has 13 wickets from nine games at an economy of 5.16. On the other hand, Rohit has been giving India stupendous starts. But great bowlers have a tendency to provide breakthroughs at the right time and a lot will depend on how Boult’s first spell goes on Wednesday. Boult, by the way, has played for Mumbai Indians and so is quite aware of the conditions.

Virat Kohli vs Mitchell Santner

King Kohli has often been troubled by the Santner in the past and has been dismissed by the left-arm spinner thrice. Perhaps keeping in mind the Santner threat, Kohli practised against left-arm spinners at nets in the lead-up to the semi-final. New Zealand’s most successful bowler in this tournament with 16 wickets provides a potential threat since Kohli has a history of struggling against bowlers of his ilk.

The Telegraph

But Kohli’s presence at the crease is important for India in the middle overs. Ian Bishop pointed out a few days ago during commentary that Santner may not have any mystery ball but his variation in pace can rattle the best of batters. Kohli is conscious of the challenges and will come well-prepared.

Daryl Mitchell vs Mohammed Shami

Mitchell has been New Zealand’s most successful batter in the tournament after Rachin Ravindra with 418 runs in nine games. At No.4, he performs a vital role, giving the innings a definite direction. The Wankhede wicket has had something for the pacers and Shami, who is expected to provide the breakthroughs with his upright seam and the ability to provide lateral movement, will like to cash in.

The Telegraph

The fast bowler has dismissed Mitchell twice in ODIs, including their last meeting in Dharamsala. But not before the New Zealander had scored 130 off 127 balls.

Rachin Ravindra vs Kuldeep Yadav

New Zealand’s young left-arm all-rounder has been a revelation with the bat (565 runs) in the World Cup. Be it opening the innings or batting at No.3, he has shown the ability to shoulder responsibility.

The Telegraph

Rachin, who possesses the fluency of Sachin Tendulkar and the cool demeanour of Rah­ul Dravid, has already said that batting at the Wankhede aga­i­nst the Indian attack will be a dream. So who among the Indians can stop him? Kuldeep surely can.

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