U-19 World Cup: Young Kiwis have claws, warns India's coach Bharat Arun

“No one expected New Zealand to win against West Indies in the quarter-final. We lost to the West Indies in our first match, so we know how good they are and to beat them shows New Zealand will be tough opposition.”

New Zealand will definitely be high in confidence after their unbelievable win over the West Indies and also the fact that they thrashed India by six wickets when the two teams played here earlier in the year. Then, India were put into bat on pitch that had a bit of grass and the New Zealand pacers knocked over the top five for only 24 runs. Although the pitch is not expected to be as conducive, all the teams batting first have on an average lost three wickets in first 10 overs.

When Arun was asked if India’s batting in the first 10 overs could decide the fate of the match, he replied, “No, but it is a critical period. All teams have struggled and our batsmen need to get their shot selection right. I thought Baba Aparajith and Vijay Zol showed how to bat on these sort of wickets against Pakistan.”

India’s leading run scorer Zol believes his best is yet to come. “I got a start in all the matches. In the third match (against Papua New Guinea) I ran out of partners when I was on 72 and against Pakistan I did the hard work but I was run out. Hopefully, i can make a big score in the semi-final.”

If India’s other batsmen can take a leaf out of Zol’s and Aparajith’s batting, it will ensure they win the pivotal new ball battle against the Kiwis. The bowlers have kept the flame burning until now, but time has come for the batsmen to deliver. 

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