India v New Zealand: All you need to know

Rohit Sharma India Pakistan World Cup PA

What is it?
It’s a World Cup semi-final. Exciting, isn’t it? Yes. Yes it is. It’s also not the semi-final that many – not least a great many Indian fans with tickets for Thursday’s game at Edgbaston – expected. But Australia’s failure to beat South Africa meant India’s predictable win over Sri Lanka meant they topped the group and now face what is objectively the easiest of the various semi-final options

When is it?
Tuesday July 9, starting at 1030 BST. Worth noting that the three knockout games, unlike the 45(!) group games that have preceded them, will have a reserve day available to allow a result to be reached. If even after two days no result is possible, then the league table will hold sway. Which means in this case it would be India who progress.

Where is it?
Old Trafford, a ground where these two teams have between them won three from three during this tournament so something has to give. New Zealand won that belter against West Indies, while India also beat West Indies – rather more easily – and Pakistan. You can get more details on the ground here.

Where can I watch it?
It’s on Sky Sports Main Event (ch 401) and Sky Sports Cricket (ch 404) in the UK.

What are the odds?
The odds give a clue as to how significant Australia’s misstep against South Africa could prove to be. India would have been – as Australia are – slight underdogs against England in the second semi-final at Edgbaston. Instead they are 1/3 favourites with Paddy Power to reach the final. New Zealand, who have lost their last three games, are 9/4 outsiders.

India at the 2019 World Cup

June 5: India (230/4, 47.3/50 overs) beat South Africa (227/9, 50/50 overs) by six wickets
June 9: India (352/5, 50/50 overs) beat Australia (316, 50/50 overs) by 36 runs
June 13: India v New Zealand – Match Abandoned
June 16: India 336/5 (50/50 overs) beat Pakistan (212/6, 40/40 overs, target: 302) by 89 runs (DLS method)
June 22: India (224/8, 50/50 overs) beat Afghanistan (213, 49.5/50 overs) by 11 runs
June 27: India (268/7, 50/50 overs) beat West Indies (143, 34.2/50 overs) by 125 runs
June 30: England (337/7 (50/50 overs) beat India (306/5, 50/50 overs) by 31 runs
July 2: India (314/9, 50/50 overs) beat Bangladesh (286, 48/50 overs) by 28 runs
July 6: India (265/3, 43.3/50 overs) beat Sri Lanka (264/7, 50/50 overs) by three wickets

New Zealand at the 2019 World Cup

June 1: New Zealand (137/0, 16.1/50 overs) beat Sri Lanka (136, 29.2 overs) by 10 wickets
June 5: New Zealand (248/8, 47.1/50 overs) beat Bangladesh (244, 49.2/50 overs) by two wickets
June 8: New Zealand (173/3, 32.1/50 overs) beat Afghanistan (172, 41.1/50 overs) by seven wickets
June 13: India v New Zealand – Match Abandoned
June 19: New Zealand (245/6, 48.3/49 overs) beat South Africa (241/6, 49/49 overs) by four wickets
June 22: New Zealand (291/8, 50/50 overs) beat West Indies (286, 49/50 overs) by five runs
June 26: Pakistan (241/4, 49.1/50 overs) beat New Zealand (237/6, 50/50 overs) by six wickets
June 29: Australia (243/9, 50/50 overs) beat New Zealand (157, 43.4/50 overs) by 86 runs
July 3: England (305/8, 50/50 overs) beat New Zealand (186, 45/50 overs) by 119 runs

India v New Zealand – Previous Meeting
A quirk of this fixture is that India and New Zealand are yet to meet at this World Cup due to their group game being washed out. That would prove quite important in the final standings, if we assume that New Zealand would not otherwise have taken anything from that particular game.

That seems a reasonable assumption given that New Zealand won all five of their games against teams who finished in the bottom half of the table and lost all their other three games against top-half teams – going down to heavy defeats against Pakistan, Australia and England in their last three games.

And yet… India and New Zealand have met this summer. They played each other in one of the official warm-up games before the tournament. Now it would be remiss to take results from such game as any great barometer of anything – Afghanistan beat Pakistan handily in one such game – but New Zealand did beat India by six wickets after Virat Kohli’s side were reduced to 39/4 before being bowled out for just 179.

India v New Zealand betting preview
The outright prices look, if anything, a touch generous to New Zealand given their three straight defeats to end the group stage. All those defeats were pretty emphatic, and their batting failed dismally in all three games. It’s no way to prepare for a semi-final against India’s supreme multi-faced bowling attack.

Where New Zealand may be more confident of competing is with the ball. Only England had any real joy with the bat in those games, and even then their final score of 305/8 represented a commendable fightback by the Black Caps after the rapid start from Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy.

If Lockie Ferguson – sorely missed in the England game – returns to add pace in the middle overs New Zealand should be confident of competing on that front.

But they will have to find a way past Rohit Sharma who has now scored five hundreds in the tournament and three in his last three games. He made the biggest of those five hundreds on this ground against Pakistan and the high quality of the opposition attack only makes us more inclined to side with the man in form even if it means going up against the GOAT, Virat Kohli.

Kohli’s class is utterly unarguable, but for whatever reason his batting at this tournament has been beset by occasional lapses of concentration. Whether it’s the added pressures of captaincy on a stage such as this or something else, it is a major surprise that he has looked as good as he has without yet reaching three figures. It’s entirely out of keeping too with his frankly ridiculous record of century-scoring in this format which has him well on course to go well beyond 50 ODI hundreds.

A price of 23/10 for Rohit to be India’s top run-scorer in the game is more than fair given his stellar form, but given the equally high standard of India’s bowling attack and New Zealand’s recent struggles with the bat it seems well worth the risk of looking instead to the top match run-scorer market where 7/2 is the price on offer.

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