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IND’s playing XI vs NZ at WC semis: Focus on ‘part-timers’ Kohli and Rohit | Cricket

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IND’s playing XI vs NZ at WC semis: Focus on ‘part-timers’ Kohli and Rohit | Cricket


Seeking redemption after a World Cup heartbreak in 2019, Rohit Sharma’s Team India has a date with destiny on Wednesday as the Men In Blue are set to cross swords with New Zealand at the Wankhede Stadium. Fresh from recording a perfect nine, Rohit and Co. can take a giant step forward towards India’s third 50-over World Cup crown with a win over Kane Williamson’s New Zealand in the first semi-final.

Virat Kohli (2R) celebrates with Shubman Gill (L), captain Rohit Sharma (2L) and KL Rahul after taking the wicket of Netherlands' captain Scott Edwards (AFP)
Virat Kohli (2R) celebrates with Shubman Gill (L), captain Rohit Sharma (2L) and KL Rahul after taking the wicket of Netherlands’ captain Scott Edwards (AFP)

The winner of the semi-final 1 will meet either Australia or South Africa in the ICC World Cup 2023 final on Sunday. Branded as India’s bogey team in ICC events, New Zealand suffered a defeat at the hands of the Men In Blue when the two teams last met in the World Cup 2023. Pacer Mohammed Shami’s fifer and a batting masterclass from Virat Kohli ended New Zealand’s 20-year unbeaten run against India in ICC events.

ALSO READ: ‘Give credit to Rahul Dravid…’: Rohit Sharma salutes India head coach for backing Iyer, Rahul to the hilt at WC

How India can lineup against Black Caps?

Following an injury to vice-captain Hardik Pandya, India were forced to change its combination for the round-robin clash with New Zealand. Pacer Shami announced his arrival by taking a wicket on the first ball of his World Cup campaign against the Kiwis. India also added middle-order batter Suryakumar Yadav to its playing XI following the departure of Pandya. Since their fifth league fixture, Rohit’s Team India has played with the same playing XI at the ICC World Cup. India are forced to make the best of the five main bowling options after Pandya’s exit.

India to avoid risking Kohli as sixth bowling option

Against New Zealand at Wankhede, India’s bowling attack will feature Mohammed Shami, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj and Ravindra Jadeja. The World Cup hosts deployed skipper Rohit and ex-captain Kohli as part-time bowlers in India’s final league game against the Netherlands. However, it is unlikely that the likes of Rohit and Kohli will be rolling their arms in the semi-final showdown against the Black Caps at the Wankhede.

Jadeja under the pump against Kiwis?

With Jadeja failing to open his wicket account against New Zealand in the league match, the Kiwi batters can fancy taking on the star spinner, who has 16 wickets under his belt at the World Cup. India’s match against New Zealand was the only World Cup 2023 fixture where Jadeja failed to take a wicket after bowling 10 overs. Jadeja has already surpassed Anil Kumble and Yuvraj Singh for most dismissals in a single World Cup edition by an Indian spinner.

Kohli set to improve knockout record

India will also expect an on-song Kohli to improve his awful record in the knockout stage of the ICC World Cup. The 35-year-old has an average of 12.16 in his last six knockout matches of the 50-over World Cup. With 594 runs, Kohli is the leading run-getter at the ODI World Cup 2023. He is followed by skipper Rohit Sharma, who has smashed 503 runs in 9 games. The veteran India opener is tasked to give the hosts a rollicking start against the Black Caps. Centurions in India’s last World Cup match, KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer will spearhead the middle order along with superstar Suryakumar.

India’s predicted XI vs New Zealand in World Cup semi-final

Openers: Rohit Sharma (c), Shubman Gill

Top-order and middle-order: Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (wk), Suryakumar Yadav

All-rounder: Ravindra Jadeja

Bowlers: Mohammed Shami, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, and Mohammed Siraj

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