New Zealand are playing their ninth ODI World Cup semifinal in 13 editions while India aim to maintain unbeaten streak.
New Delhi: India will be taking on New Zealand on Wednesday at the Wankhede Stadium for a place in the final in a repeat telecast of the 2019 World Cup semifinal. The Men in Blue are the only unbeaten side so far in ODI World Cup 2023, having won nine matches on the trot and are two wins shy of ending a 10-year ICC trophy drought. The 2019 Manchester heartbreak might be lingering in a corner of the hosts’ mind as an irritant. However, this Indian side have shown a propensity to rise above an uncomfortable past, but they will be aware that any slip-up in Mumbai will be viewed as a national catastrophe, shattering a billion hearts.
While India are on a roll, New Zealand suffered some hiccups before making it to the last four for the fifth consecutive time in the 50-over World Cup. Ahead of the big match on Wednesday, let’s discuss some of New Zealand’s weaknesses that India could exploit.
Over-Reliance On Rachin Ravindra
New Zealand are solely reliant on Rachin Ravindra at the top of the order. The 25-year-old has already hit three centuries and has been the pillar of Kiwis’ success so far. Devon Conway, who took the tournament by storm with an unbeaten 152 against England in the opener, has since flopped while captain Kane Williamson battled injuries for most of the time. Out of nine league games, Williamson has played five matches, with half-centuries in three of them.
An inconsistent middle-order has hurt New Zealand in four matches they lost in the league stage. Baring two fifties, Tom Latham has been a super flop. Daryl Mitchell will take confidence from the 130-run innings he played against India in the league stage in a losing cause. Although both Latham and Mitchell are good players of spin, they have to deal against an in-form duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja.
No Partner-In-Crime For Mitchell Santner
Like several teams in the tournament, New Zealand too have felt the absence of a second spinner in Indian conditions. Mitchell Santner has been one of the best spinners in the tournament so far with 14 wickets. Rachin Ravindra and Glenn Phillips give the Black Caps more options in the spin department but they are not frontline spinners.
Interestingly, New Zealand have benched speciallist spinner Ish Sodhi for the majority of ODI World Cup 2023, with just one game under his belt. It is understandable that playing Sodhi will compromise New Zealand’s batting depth and it remains to be seen what Williamson decides on Wednesday afternoon.
New Zealand’s Semifinal Records
Like Chennai Super Kings in IPL, New Zealand are the most consistent side when it comes to ODI World Cups. In 13 editions they have played so far, New Zealand made it to the last four stages on nine occasions with two appearances in the final. Undoubtedly, both teams will be under immense pressure, a bit more on the visiting team as they have to deal with the charged-up atmosphere at the Wankhede.