Will New Zealand Pull Off A Surprise Victory Over India?
When the 2019 ICC World Cup started, the sportsbooks thought England was the team to beat. However, India has played extremely well throughout the World Cup and have lost only 1 match during the playoffs. They sit at the top of the ICC points table with 15 points and will play New Zealand in the first semi-finals which take place on 09 July.
India Go In As Favourites
The bookies have India as the clear betting favourites at odds of 1.32 and New Zealand with odds of 3.30. The betting odds are a reflection of how India have played throughout the tournament. It’s also a reflection on how the Kiwis have let things slip in recent matches.
The strategy for India to win is very simple. They would like to win the toss, bat first and put a total in excess of 300 on the board. Meanwhile, the Kiwis have batted poorly right throughout the tournament. In fact, their three losses have all been due to batting failures.
The only team that India have not played during the playoff games is New Zealand as the scheduled game was abandoned due to rain. However, the two teams did play each other during the warm-up matches. The Kiwis comprehensively outplayed India during that match.
New Zealand Will Be Confident
New Zealand have a reputation for being giant killers. Moreover, they will take confidence from the fact that they beat India during the warm up game. India batted first during this game and could only get to 179 as they were bowled out in the 40th over.
Trent Boult (4 wickets) and J Neesham (3 wickets) were the chief wicket takers. The Kiwis chased down the total after captain Kane Williamson (67) and Ross Taylor (71) put together a match winning partnership.
We must point out that the Kiwi openers Martin Guptill and Colin Munro failed in the warm up game and also have had a poor World Cup. New Zealand need one if not both their openers to fire if they are going to put India under any pressure. They decided to drop Munro due to his poor form and bring in Henry Nicholls for the last two games. Nevertheless, Nicholls hasn’t delivered either.
New Zealand Bowling Will Determine Win/Loss
New Zealand has done well in the World Cup mainly because their bowlers have done well. Leading the pack is Lockie Ferguson with 17 wickets and is third on the list of leading wicket takers. He missed their last game against England due to a strained hamstring. The Kiwis will subsequently do everything they can to get him fit for the game against India.
A lot will depend on the conditions. If it offers any assistance to the fast bowlers, you can bet that T Boult and L Ferguson will exploit them to full extent. New Zealand will be very aware of the fact that if they get both Indian openers quickly, the Indian middle-order will be exposed once again.
Captain’s Could Decide End Result
The pressure of playing at a World Cup semi-final will be enormous for both teams. More so for India, though, because they go in as the favourites. They also have 1.2 billion passionate fans supporting them.
Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson are considered two of the best batsmen in the world. In addition to performing with the bat, they need to be very tactical in the field, too. Williamson is known to keep a cool head, while Kohli is known to get very emotional under pressure. If you want to play it safe, then back India to win as the odds are definitely in their favour. However, don’t count the Kiwis out as they know they can beat India on their day!