The ICC World Cup 2019 is all set for its semi-final stage and four top teams will be battling it out. Australia, India, and England had already qualified for the last four, whereas, New Zealand made the cut after confirming their berth in relation to a better NRR than Pakistan. The Indian team is all set to face New Zealand, whereas. Aussies will face familiar foes England.
When we look back at the league stage, India topped the 10-team table with 15 points in their kitty. That sees them play against the Kiwis, who ended on 11 points. It’s two different scenarios here. India was consistent and played with a certain sense of gusto. New Zealand faltered in the second half and lost three successive matches.
Meanwhile, Australia finished second after winning seven games out of nine in the league stage. England, who found much-needed form in the end, took third place with 12 points. These two sides will face each other at Edgbaston on Thursday. One should note that there are deserve days in-store, by chance if a match gets washed out.
Keeping the flashback in mind hosts England managed to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup for the first time since 1992. New Zealand, made the cut for a second successive time. Five-time champions Australia booked a berth for the 8th time, while India managed to make it to their 7th World Cup semi-final.
Notably, both New Zealand and England are yet to win the World Cup. Whereas, Australia and India have won the trophy seven times between them. At the moment, it’s all about who plays better cricket on the given day. The league stage and the results will not have a major influence.
With Sunday’s finale insight, we are set for a real crack and see how things shape up from here on.
Here we decode what to expect from the two semi-final matches.
How weather could play a role
As per reports, rainfall is predicted at Edgbaston on Thursday and Friday both. Now if the England-Australia game is dashed by rain on both Thursday and then on the reserve day, the semi-final will see Australia go through without a single ball being bowled. Now, this is as per tournament rules, which highlights that Australia, who finished second highest in the group stage and ahead of England, will progress to the finale.
Over the last two weeks, we have been lucky enough to witness matches getting finished. But if you remember, prior to that we had issues with rain. Notably, seven of the 45 matches during the group stage were affected by the weather. Three were decided by Duckworth-Lewis-Stern Method (DLS), one game didn’t have a result and other three were abandoned entirely.
Kohli-led India will be up and ready
India’s strength in the top order and then in bowling makes the side a real deal in the semis. India captain Virat Kohli is renowned for awaiting the big moments in cricket. He will relish the opportunity to give everything against Kane Williamson’s men. Rohit Sharma with five World Cup centuries will be the spearhead for India.
He has set the bar high in the ongoing tourney and the runs have flowed easily. Kohli and KL Rahul’s top form also means that India have an advantage to start with. On the other hand, India’s middle-order lacks the edge. In case, the top three fail, then India could be in a fix. The number four position is still a worry. But one expects with experience there, India might pull off something.
Bowling wise, India are strong and Jasprit Bumrah (17 wickets) is that star personality, who is too good at the death. With his prowess, India will be benefitted immensely. It’s the confidence in the side that could spark them against Kiwis.
Kiwis have to change their offerings
The Kiwis are in a mess with respect to their top-order. The openers have been out of form and they have struggled to lay a foundation. So everything is on Kane Williamson’s shoulder. The skipper cannot get the job done alone and will need the others to step up and play with responsibility. The middle order too looks shy and vulnerable.
New Zealand’s best bet is with the bowling. Experienced left-arm quick Trent Boult and fit-again fast bowler Lockie Ferguson can cause issues. Their bowling will hold the cards in this match at Old Trafford in Manchester on Tuesday.
Confidence will be key here. NZ have lost their last three games. That could play a role in their minds. New Zealand have lost 13 wickets in the power-play at just 23.38 each. This is poor from the BlackCaps.
Aussies will count on flexibility
Australia were hit with two injuries in a quick span of time. The defending champions lost Shaun Marsh (fractured arm) and then Usman Khawaja (hamstring). Both players were been ruled out of the World Cup. However, coach Justin Langer believes the flexibility and adaptability will be enough for Australia.
Matthew Wade has replaced Khawaja, whereas, Peter Handscomb was called in to replace veteran Marsh. It remains to be seen who gets the nod against England. Rotating the batting and the positions have been Australia’s mantra in CWC 19. Their openers are on fire and will look to dictate the show against England.
The middle order gets some strength with both Handscomb and Wade being quality customers. Australia will look to dominate the game from the word go. Their two trump cards- David Warner and Mitchell Starc will be looking to set the flow.
England will offer a right balance
The Three Lions have found a perfect balance and the players will need to stick to the basics and work collectively. Their openers, in particular, hold the cards in this high-octane battle. England have serious depth and they peaked at the right time after these two defeats in between.
England may have lost the earlier battle to Australia, but things could be entirely different this time.
Like every other side, bowling is immense for the hosts. They have the character and depth in the bowling to make things work. England will be all about the right balance and they can hurt Australia at Edgbaston with the same. Jofra Archer is their main ace and he can set the tempo flowing.