India and New Zealand will face each other in the semifinal of the ICC World Cup 2023 at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Wednesday. This is a clash of old rivals who have met in several key ICC battles in the past, such as the 2019 World Cup semifinal and the 2021 World Test Championship final. Both times, New Zealand emerged victorious in England. India will be keen to avenge those defeats and make it to the final of the World Cup on home soil.
India’s dominant form
India has been the most dominant team in the World Cup 2023, winning all its nine matches in the league stage, including a convincing victory over New Zealand at Dharamshala. India’s batting has been superb, led by captain Rohit Sharma, who has scored four centuries in the tournament. Virat Kohli, Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, K.L. Rahul and Suryakumar Yadav have also contributed with big runs. India’s bowling has been equally potent, with Jasprit Bumrah leading the pace attack and Ravindra Jadeja and Yuzvendra Chahal spinning a web around the opposition. India has not missed the services of Hardik Pandya and Rishabh Pant, who are out with injuries.
New Zealand’s resilience
New Zealand, on the other hand, has been a resilient side that has overcome several challenges to reach the semifinal. The Black Caps have won six out of their nine matches, losing only to India, England and Australia. They have shown their ability to adapt to different conditions and situations, with Rachin Ravindra being their standout performer with the bat. Kane Williamson, the captain, has been a calm and composed leader, who has guided his team with his astute tactics and batting skills. New Zealand’s bowling has been led by Trent Boult and Tim Southee, who have exploited the swing and seam movement. Mitchell Santner has been their main spinner, who has troubled the batsmen with his variations.
The key factors
The semifinal will be a contest between two well-balanced and experienced sides, who know how to handle the pressure of knock-out matches. The key factors that could decide the outcome are:
- The pitch and the toss: The Wankhede Stadium has a reputation of being a high-scoring venue, where the ball comes on to the bat nicely. The team that wins the toss will likely opt to bat first and put up a big total. However, the pitch could also offer some assistance to the pacers and spinners, especially in the second innings. The dew factor could also play a role in the evening, making it difficult for the bowlers to grip the ball.
- The opening partnership: Both India and New Zealand have strong opening pairs, who can provide quick and solid starts. Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill have been in sublime form for India, scoring 872 and 512 runs respectively in the tournament. Martin Guptill and Devon Conway have also been impressive for New Zealand, scoring 421 and 378 runs respectively. The team that gets the better of the opening partnership will have an edge in the match.
- The middle-order stability: Both India and New Zealand have a strong middle-order, which can accelerate the scoring and finish the innings. India has Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, K.L. Rahul and Suryakumar Yadav, who can play both anchor and aggressor roles. New Zealand has Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Tom Latham and Jimmy Neesham, who can also adapt to different situations. The team that has more stability and depth in the middle-order will have an advantage in the match.
- The bowling attack: Both India and New Zealand have a potent bowling attack, which can take wickets and contain the runs. India has Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ravindra Jadeja and Yuzvendra Chahal, who have taken 82 wickets among them in the tournament. New Zealand has Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Kyle Jamieson, Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi, who have taken 76 wickets among them in the tournament. The team that has more variety and discipline in the bowling attack will have an edge in the match.
India and New Zealand are two of the best teams in the world, who have played some thrilling matches in the past. The semifinal will be another exciting encounter, where both teams will give their best to reach the final. India has the home advantage and the momentum, while New Zealand has the experience and the resilience. It will be a close contest, but India has a slight edge over New Zealand, given their superior form and balance.