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World Cup 2019

India vs New Zealand | World Cup 2019 | 1st Semi-Final | FanFight Fantasy Cricket Preview | The Race to the World Title

India vs New Zealand | World Cup 2019 | 1st Semi-Final | FanFight Fantasy Cricket Preview | The Race to the World Title

India vs New Zealand: The round-robin stage of the World Cup is done. We’ve got our top 4. Australia’s defeat against the Proteas in the last league game put the men in blue on top of the table. Virat Kohli’s legion will combat against the Kiwis to register a place in the grand finale. England, after a minute scare, managed to finish 3rd & will take on the Aussies for a spot in the finals. Old rivals meet, plenty of enthralling cricket in store & all this to lift the coveted trophy aloft.


The Kiwis, clearly, had one of the most balanced squads coming into the World Cup & were clear favourites to making it to the top 4 & started the 2019 World Cup campaign on a massive high. They tore the Lankans apart in their tournament’s opener. Martin Guptill & Colin Munro chased a paltry 136 in 16.1 overs & the foundation was set. The Bangla boys put up a stern fight but Mitchell Santner held his nerves & took them over the line. The fixture against Afghanistan was a walk in the park. Against India, the weather proved to be a nuisance & then the real test began.

They took on the Proteas in match 25 of the World Cup at Birmingham & after being 80/4, 242 was always going to be a tricky target. Kane Williamson held his ground, made his usual monkish presence felt & scored one of the finest centuries of the World Cup. New Zealand won that game by 4 wickets & 3 balls to spare. Mr. Williamson was at it yet again. This time a flamboyant knock of 148 against the Windies. Carlos Brathwaite’s astonishing ton got the Windies to touching distance but a rush of blood led to his downfall. New Zealand until then remained undefeated. Then the descent happened.


The Kiwis lost three games in a row. Pakistan were in dire need of a win & the Kiwis were at the receiving end of their pursuit. The Aussies showed no mercy whatsoever & the Poms battered them black & blue(no pun intended). The big question then – Is this Kiwi side really good or has luck favoured them?

If Carlos Brathwaite had batted sensibly & won that game for the Windies, New Zealand would have taken the flight back home. If Imran Tahir & Quinton de Kock had gone for a review, Williamson wouldn’t have what he did. Lucky you may deem? At the highest level, the margins for errors are minimal & when the opportunity was there, New Zealand took their chances. The team had to depend on individual performances but here they are, with every plausible chance of making it to their second World Cup final in a row. Quite an achievement that.


The men in blue finished on top of the points table, they are the 2nd ranked team in world cricket but even the best have some frailties they just can’t manage to hide. It’s still not certain as to who India’s number 4 is. Rishab Pant has batted at number 4 in the last 3 innings & has managed scores of 32, 48 & 4. But on a stage as massive as the semi’s, does the southpaw have the temperament to make it count? Dhoni has had a mediocre World Cup so far & although he averages 44.60, the wicket-keeper batsman has struggled to churn strike & dispatch deliveries out of the park when needed.

It’s teacher vs apprentice. The tested solution for this has been to bat them according to situations. Pant has come in early when India’s in a position of strength. But if they lose early wickets, Dhoni can walk in, take his time & then accelerate. Precisely what he’s done a billion times.


India’s Number 4s in the 2019 World Cup 
Versus Player Score Result 
South Africa  KL Rahul 26 Won
Australia  Hardik Pandya 48 Won 
Pakistan Hardik Pandya 26 Won
Afghanistan  Vijay Shankar 29 Won
West Indies  Vijay Shankar 15 Won
England  Rishab Pant  32 Lost
Bangladesh  Rishant Pant 48 Won 
Sri Lanka  Rishant Pant 4 Won 

India’s number 4 in the 2019 World Cup has never gone on to score a 50. The starts from Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan & KL Rahul have cushioned this slot. How have the number 4 batsman from the other teams performed?

Most runs at Number 4 in the 2019 World Cup 
Player Innings Team  Runs Average
Mushfiqur Rahim 8 BAN 367 52.42
Ross Taylor 7 NZ 261 37.28
Eoin Morgan 6 ENG 240 40
Mohammad Hafeez 7 PAK 237 33.85
Steven Smith 6 AUS 214 35.66
Nicolas Pooran 5 WI 190 47.5

Team India have had 4 batsmen bat at number 4 in the 8 matches they’ve played. Rishab Pant has batted thrice in that all-important position & has scored 84 runs at 28.00. For a side that thrives on its batting ability that’s an absolute shocker. Vijay Shankar was foreseen as the 2-drop batter & wasn’t given enough opportunities, Hardik Pandya was promoted twice & he did what was expected of him. But who’ll be India’s number 4 in the semis?

Who’s skilled enough to handle the pressure? Of course, it’s MS Dhoni. It has to be MS Dhoni. He averages 56.58 after 30 matches & has scored over 50, 13 times. Look no further, India has its number 4 in MS & considering the style he’s adapted in the last 18 months, he’s more suited to take the number 4 spot.

Dhoni at number 4 
Matches Runs Average S/R
30 1358 56.58 92.82


When: 9th July 2019, Tuesday

Where: Old Trafford, Manchester

Kick-Off: 3:00 PM, IST


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Head-To-Head (IND vs NZ)
Overall Last 4 years In World Cups
Matches 106 Matches 13 Matches 7
India 55 India 9 India 3
New Zealand 45 New Zealand 4 New Zealand 4

The men in blue received a hammering in the warm-up against New Zealand on the 25th of May. India were bundled out for 179 & were beaten convincingly by 6 wickets. The World Cup, however, has been a different animal altogether. India look invincible & the Kiwis seem slightly timid.

India’s had beaten the Kiwis 4-1 earlier this year, but the game India finished 2nd best, they were dismissed for a mere 92. The Kiwis on their day can dismantle any batting line-up & this mercurial complexion will be the real tester for the Indian legion. Can they dodge New Zealand’s quality?

STAT: The Kiwis have played 7 World Cup semis & only once have then gone on to play the finals. India, on the other hand, have played 6 semis(this being their 7th), & have played the finals thrice.



Team India brought Ravindra Jadeja in for the game against Sri Lanka. The left-arm orthodox looked in fine rhythm & bowled a miserly spell. His figures read 10-0-40-1. Will he be persisted with? Jadeja certainly adds a lot of balance to this Indian squad. He’s expected to replace Dinesh Karthik at number 7. Yuzvendra Chahal is likely to replace Kuldeep Yadav & Mohammad Shami will be included in the playing XI.

EXPECTED PLAYING XI: KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli(c), Rishab Pant, MS Dhoni(wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Shami, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah.


Lockie Ferguson has picked 17 wickets in the campaign so far & had to be left out against England due to a hamstring injury. In an interview, Ferguson confirmed that there was still some tightness in his hamstring but the injury wasn’t as serious. He’s expected to take the field in the semi-finals.

Tim Southee will make way for the speedy pacer. The rest of the squad is expected to remain unchanged. Also, a concern for the Kiwis is the opening pair. Who’ll open the innings with Martin Guptill? Henry Nicholls has had two disappointing starts (0 & 8) & Colin Munro was left out, after a series of failures.

EXPECTED PLAYING XI: Martin Guptill, Henry Nicholls/Colin Munro, Kane Williamson(c), Ross Taylor, Tom Latham(wk), Jimmy Neesham, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult, Matt Henry





Rohit Sharma averages only 35.10 against New Zealand. Trent Boult has got the better of him 4 times in ODIs. His strike-rate against the left-arm pacer – a low 64.71.

Virat Kohli against the Kiwis averages a staggering 68.52 & has scored 5 hundreds against them. His last 4 innings against the Kiwis – 60, 43, 45 & 113.

Kane Williamson & Ross Taylor are New Zealand’s most prolific run-getters in the last 4 years. They average 47.89 & 47.90 in ODIs but against India, their averages drop to 38.91 & 41.37 respectively.

Mohammad Shami is a wicket-taking machine. Against New Zealand, Shami has picked 20 wickets at 22.70. He’ll be a player to watch out for.

Tom Latham has averaged only 16.33 in the 2019 World Cup but averages 58.30 against the men in blue.


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