India put on a clinical performance in their final playoff game on Saturday against Sri Lanka and won by 7 wickets to finish on top of the ICC World Cup points table. India ended up with 15 points after losing just one match in their World Cup playoff campaign.
India vs. New Zealand – Semi Final
India managed to overtake Australia who finished in second place with 14 points as the Aussies lost their final playoff match to South Africa. India will now play New Zealand in the first semi-finals on 09 July while Australia will play hosts England in the second semi-finals on 11 July.
We must point out that India did not play New Zealand in the playoff games as that match was abandoned due to rain. India will believe they have the upper hand going into the semi-final against the Kiwis as New Zealand started the tournament well but have played poorly during the last few games.
However, India will not want to take anything for granted as they know that the Kiwis can beat any team on the day and enjoy the fact that they are underdogs.
Keys To Victory For India
India would like to win the toss and bat first against New Zealand. R Sharma has been in spectacular form, hitting 5 centuries in the playoff games and KL Rahul has found his groove after hitting a century against Sri Lanka.
India would like to set the Kiwis a big total and then put their batting line-up under pressure. The Kiwi openers have struggled throughout the tournament and have relied heavily on their captain Kane Williamson to bail them out on just about every occasion.
The Indian middle-order will also need to fire just incase the openers have an off day. Kohli has had a rather quiet tournament till date based on his standards and will be eager to make a big score in the semi-finals and take India to another World Cup final.
The Indian captain played down the fact that they were facing a weaker team in New Zealand. Kohli said that if India played badly any team could beat them whereas when they play well, they can run through any opposition.
India has experimented with their playing eleven in the last couple of games. It is quite possible that India will go back to their two main spinners Y Chahal and K Yadav as the Kiwis struggle against quality spin!