Without a doubt, the semifinals feature the four most formidable teams, evident when examining the points table, which reveals a considerable gap between the top four and the rest.
Interestingly, the semifinalists were determined by the penultimate day of the group stage, underscoring their superiority over other teams.
Reflecting on the 2019 clash between India and New Zealand that spanned two days in England, the conditions favored the Kiwis, resembling those at their home ground. Despite commendable performances from Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli in the opening positions, the middle-order batsmen faced a challenge when the ball swung and seamed excessively during the semifinals.
Contrastingly, the current scenario sees India’s number four batsman, Shreyas Iyer, in exceptional form, and the Kiwi bowlers may not pose the same threat in familiar Indian conditions.
The Wankhede Stadium pitch, known for its increased pace in the evening, adds an intriguing element to the captains’ decision-making after winning the toss.
In knockout games, the pressure of the scoreboard can be decisive. Given the impressive fast bowling units of both teams, it wouldn’t be surprising to see teams choosing to bat first.
While Devon Conway’s form is a concern for the Kiwis, it is balanced by the prowess displayed by Rachin Ravindra, Kane Williamson, and Daryl Mitchell.
The pivotal battle could unfold in the middle overs, where New Zealand’s Mitchell Santner employs great guile and loop, and India’s Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja collaborate brilliantly to both stifle runs and take wickets.
India has exhibited all-around excellence to secure victories in all group matches, but they are well aware that the Kiwis are formidable opponents prepared for the upcoming battle. (Professional Management Group)