India vs New Zealand match may define Cricket World Cup

The semifinal match between New Zealand and India on November 15 in Mumbai is a must-watch. Virat Kohli and Trent Boult at the World Cup Group Stage (AP Photo)

Wednesday 15 November, Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai

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Auckland, November 14, 2023

India versus New Zealand is a mouth-watering prospect as the first semi-final of the tournament throws up a repeat of the 2019 semi at Old Trafford in Manchester.

New Zealand denied India in a nail-biting classic on that occasion, with Ravindra Jadeja and MS Dhoni’s fightback proving not quite enough to deny the Kiwis a spot in the final.

India’s progression to this semifinal has been even more serene that it was in England four years ago, with Rohit Sharma’s side winning all nine games and rarely even looking like being challenged on their path to the knockout stages.

History beckons India

History beckons for an India side who are looking for a first major tournament win in 12 years, and where better for this semi-final to be held than at the venue where India won their last Cricket World Cup back in 2011?

This generation of New Zealand cricketers is the near side of the white-ball game, with many of the players to have lost the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup final in 2021 and Cricket World Cup finals in 2015 and 2019 still involved in the set-up.

The Squads

India Squad: Rohit Sharma (c), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishan Kishan, Prasidh Krishna, Suryakumar Yadav.

New Zealand squad: Kane Williamson (c), Trent Boult, Mark Chapman, Devon Conway, Lockie Ferguson, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Jimmy Neesham, Glenn Phillips, Rachin Ravindra, Mitch Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Will Young.

The Venue

Semifinal 1: Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai

A Cricket Capital of sorts, the Wankhede hosted the final of the Men’s Cricket World Cup the last time it was held in India back in 2011. The distinct red-soil pitch will no doubt play its part.

The Key Players: India: Rohit Sharma: Virat Kohli has scored more runs, but Rohit Sharma’s remarkable form at the top of the order has repeatedly set the tone for India throughout their tournament. His 503 runs have come at a strike rate of 121.49, helping India to get off to the sort of starts that have taken run-rate pressure off those in the middle order.

Getting Rohit early will be vital to New Zealand’s hopes of beating the tournament hosts.

New Zealand’s Rachin Ravindra has emerged as the most promising and consistent performer at the Cricket World Cup 2023 (Facebook Photo)

New Zealand: Rachin Ravindra: The breakout star of this World Cup is undoubtedly New Zealand’s Rachin Ravindra. The spin-bowling all-rounder was a known talent, but few would have predicted just how brilliant his batting has been for the Kiwis. A handy squad member at the start of the campaign, Ravindra is now a lock in the first XI and will look to take the attack back to India. Only Quinton de Kock and Virat Kohli have scored more runs than the New Zealander’s 565 in nine innings. If Ravindra gets away against the country that his parents herald from then New Zealand will have a big chance.

Rachin Ravindra has launched himself onto the world stage with his maiden international century against England in the Cricket World Cup opener against England in Ahmedabad.By hitting 123 not out and forming an unbeaten second-wicket partnership with Devon Conway (152 not out), the Black Caps youngster has become literally an overnight sensation.

Who is Rachin Ravindra? New Zealand Herald reported saying that born to Indian parents in Wellington in 1999, his name was formed from two of the greatest cricketers of all time, Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar.

“His father Ravi Krishnamurthy, a software architect, played club-level cricket in his hometown of Bangalore, before settling in New Zealand. Ravindra attended Hutt International Boys’ School in Upper Hutt and was named in the New Zealand under-19 Cricket World Cup squads for the 2016 and 2018 tournaments. In the 2016 tournament, as a 16-year-old, he opened the batting alongside Glenn Phillips, now his Black Caps teammate. They suffered a shock defeat to Nepal to miss out on the knockout round,” the publication said.

India: Jasprit Bumrah: India’s bowling superstar has been consistently outstanding throughout the tournament to date. Bumrah’s Powerplay numbers are exceptional, and if he can squeeze New Zealand’s openers then that will go a long way to halting the Black Caps with the bat.

Bumrah is the all-round package;  brilliant up-top, threatening through the middle and skilled at the death. And his numbers in the tournament are outstanding – 17 wickets from nine matches at an average of 15.64 and a fantastic economy of 3.65. No bowler to have played more than one match can better that economy rate in the tournament.

New Zealand: Tim Southee: The loss of Matt Henry from New Zealand’s attack was a significant blow, and the pressure will be on Tim Southee to deliver on the big stage. Southee has no lack of experience and will know that he needs to provide quality support for Trent Boult with the new ball and protect Lockie Ferguson for the middle overs as much as possible.

If Southee is expensive then India will already have a huge advantage even before they look to target the combination of all-rounders who will provide the fifth set of 10 overs for the Black Caps.

International Cricket Council suspends Sri Lanka

The International Cricket Council (ICC) Board has suspended Sri Lanka Cricket’s membership of the ICC with immediate effect.

The ICC Board met on November 11, 2023 and determined that Sri Lanka Cricket is in serious breach of its obligations as a Member, in particular, the requirement to manage its affairs autonomously and ensure that there is no government interference in the governance, regulation and/or administration of cricket in Sri Lanka.

The conditions of the suspension will be decided by the ICC Board in due course. The ICC Board is set to meet on November 21, after which the future course of action is expected to be clearer.

Sri Lanka is scheduled to host the ICC Under-19 Men’s Cricket World Cup across January and February 2024.

The Sri Lanka men’s team have had a forgettable time at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, winning just two of their nine matches and finishing with four points. They sit at No.8 in the points table with three more matches to be played in the league phase.

Sri Lanka allrounder Aravinda de Silva was admitted to the ICC Hall of Fame before Sri Lanka was suspended from the game (ICC Photo)

De Silva on ICC Hall of Fame

This decision came as Sri Lanka all-rounder Aravinda de Silva was inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame for a superb career that included a match-winning hundred in an ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup final. The diminutive de Silva played a key role in Sri Lanka’s rapid rise from an emerging side to a powerhouse of the white-ball formats during an international career that spanned 19 years.

De Silva amassed a total of 15,645 runs for Sri Lanka across 93 Tests and 308 ODIs and captained the team for several years in both formats.

The right-armer was also a cunning off-spinner and claimed 135 wickets at the elite level.

Source: International Cricket Council

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