India face New Zealand in the first semi-final of the ICC World Cup 2019 and it promises to be a cracker of an encounter. While New Zealand will have a lot of cracks to fill, India, a well-oiled machine at that, will hope that the minor blips will find a way to hide before the Lord’s date.
Rohit Sharma: Do I even need to tell anything about Rohit “Hitman” Sharma? The name is enough as his is statsguru page, which tells me he has ONLY five centuries in the 2019 World Cup so far that has even compelled Virat Kohli to suggest that “Rohit Sharma is the best ODI batsman in the World right now”.
KL Rahul: One man’s loss is another man’s gain. Shikhar Dhawan might have been ruled out with a fractured thumb but KL Rahul hasn’t disappointed much ever since his promotion to the top of the order and his century against Sri Lanka has put a lot of doubters to rest. Now, the onus will be on him to support Rohit as much as possible.
Virat Kohli: If centuries are the marker of success, Virat Kohli hasn’t had a successful outing but he has again been the glue around which the team is moving. Five half-centuries in eight innings meant India’s ever-so-reliable top order is at it again.
Rishabh Pant: After getting a sudden lifeline, Rishabh Pant made the right use of the opportunity and his 46 against Bangladesh seems to have settled the case once and for all. An uncomplicated character, Pant will be eager to go out and play some big shots to help India handle knockout pressure.
MS Dhoni: The former Indian skipper has had a contrasting tournament so far but come the knockouts, India will expect him to deliver nothing less than a flashback to the MS Dhoni of old. His reinvention will be the key to India’s chances and how easily he can adapt to it will be the major factor.
Dinesh Karthik: It is the years of toil and hard work by DK that is reaping dividends now. Agreed that he has batted in only two World Cup matches, but the years of non-selection must have made him ever so confident in his abilities and the time has come for him to showcase that in the big game in Manchester tomorrow.
Hardik Pandya: The all-rounder has perfectly essayed the role that he has been given in this World Cup and is undoubtedly going to be one of India’s trump cards for the game. His effective bowling display combined with the fact that his power-hitting lower down the order has resulted in Pandya being the ultimate hero in India’s campaign so far.
Ravindra Jadeja: The all-rounder’s ability to slow the game down and his precision work in the outfield makes him a solid contestant for the second spinner’s role and he may well pip Kuldeep Yadav to the post for the same role.
Yuzvendra Chahal: With 11 wicket from seven games, Chahal has had a pretty bad tournament, but he is still a better fit than Kuldeep Yadav who is struggling big-time since the last few days. The good thing for Chahal will be that he has a terrific record against New Zealand and will hope to be at it again.
Mohammed Shami: Dropped, taken wickets for fun and dropped again. Well, Mohammed Shami has had quite a tournament so far, with 14 wickets from four matches. With Bhuvneshwar Kumar underperforming against Sri Lanka, Shami is definite to get a nod in, majorly thanks to his ability to chip in with wickets in the middle overs.
Jasprit Bumrah: The toe-crushing yorkers are coming as good as has it ever been and run-scoring is extremely difficult against the World’s No.1 pacer. As Ian Bishop rightly said yesterday, Mitchell Starc may have taken the maximum wickets but Bumrah is head and shoulders above anyone else. His mere presence can put the fear of god to New Zealand batting order.
Cricket FootBall Kabaddi
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