WC: India's batting will clash against New Zealand's bowling in the semi-finals
By siliconindia | Tuesday, 14 November 2023, 02:57:21 PM IST
Grant Elliott, the former New Zealand all-rounder famous for hitting a six off Dale Steyn's ball at Eden Park, Auckland, in the 2015 World Cup semi-final, believes that the New Zealand vs India match-up in the 2023 World Cup semi-final will be an exciting battle between India's batting lineup and New Zealand's bowling attack. “I think this game is about the batting of India vs the bowling of New Zealand. Can the New Zealand bowlers find a way to get the right combinations and put India under pressure by taking early wickets”, said Elliot in an interview.
Indian batters have been in top form, with captain Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul all making significant runs. Despite injuries and form concerns, New Zealand's bowlers remain a threat. New Zealand won their first four matches but lost the next four before qualifying with a five-wicket win over Sri Lanka. “New Zealand has played some amazing cricket. Taking away the South African and Pakistan fixtures, the games they have lost have been close contests. Almost chasing down 388 against Australia and having India 6 down and losing in the 48th over have been promising results,” adds Elliot.
Against Sri Lanka, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult and Devon Conway showed signs of coming back to their best self. But Elliot thinks the form shown in league matches will have little impact on highly-anticipated clash. “I don’t think it matters in knockout games. Form means very little. It is, however up to the senior players to lead from the front and that’s exactly what’s happened. New Zealand can take a lot of confidence out of their batting. There are so many match winners and all players look in decent form.”
New Zealand consistently performs well in World Cups, punching above their weight to become strong contenders. Rachin Ravindra has been a standout player, scoring 565 runs in nine matches with a 70.62 average and 108.44 strike rate. He's also taken five wickets with his left-arm spin bowling. Elliot conceded there were no expectations for Ravindra to be in New Zealand’s starting eleven for this World Cup and on seeing his outstanding performances, has predicted him to become Player of the Match in the semifinal against India.
Left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner has been exceptional, picking up 16 wickets in nine games. He had figures of 2-34 in the 2019 World Cup semi-final and 1-37 in the league match at Dharamsala. Elliot attributes Santner's accuracy and knowledge of Indian conditions to his success. His variety, cricket smarts, and experience make him the glue of the bowling attack. Santner's subtle changes in flight and pace make it hard for the opposition, and he is very miserly in giving away runs.
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