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Rachin Ravindra is the find of the tournament

Updated on: 15 November,2023 08:03 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Sir Richard Hadlee |

Young batter plays with no fear and his glorious strokeplay has been nothing short of sensational

Rachin Ravindra is the find of the tournament

Rachin Ravindra at the Wankhede Stadium nets on Tuesday. Pic/Satej Shinde

Sir Richard HadleeNew Zealand are talking themselves up and believe they can beat India in the first semifinal of the World Cup. The Blackcaps have reached nine semifinals in World Cups and believe they have the team and players to cause a major upset by denying India and perhaps going all the way themselves.

The Blackcaps did not play a group game in Mumbai, but India decisively beat Sri Lanka at the Wankhede Stadium by an impressive 302 runs. Along with nine consecutive pool game wins, India have home advantage and passionate crowd support, which will make life very difficult for the Blackcaps. The pitch should be good for batting and the team batting first is likely to post an imposing score; batting second and chasing any score over 300 will be a real challenge.

For the Blackcaps to win, two things need to happen. They must strike very early and have Rohit Sharma and the prolific Virat Kohli (594 runs at over 100) back in the pavilion with less than 30 on the board. That would be a dream start but Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja can bat India out of trouble and post big runs very quickly, such is the strength of their batting.

Secondly, the Blackcaps top order needs to nullify the pace and skill of Jasprit Bumrah (17 wickets), Mohammed Siraj and Mohammed Shami (16). Jadeja also poses a threat with his outstanding control of flight and spin and deadly accuracy.

The experienced Devon Conway is due a score while Rachin Ravindra has been the find of the tournament. He has announced himself on the world stage as a rising star. He has plays with no fear and his glorious stroke play has been nothing short of sensational. He is the third highest run-scorer behind Virat and Quinton de Kock, at a strike rate of 108 with three centuries; he also has taken five wickets. Kane Williamson will steady the ship and build an innings, and his leadership skills will be very important, especially in how he uses his bowlers.

Trent Boult is back in form. If he can swing the ball into the right-handed batsmen, he will have a chance of several leg before appeals going in his favour. Mitchell Santner has been New Zealand’s best bowler – his control of flight, change of pace and spin have brought him 16 wickets at under five runs an over.

This match has the potential to be a thriller.

Australia boast five titles, South Africa have made five semifinals and never kicked on. In a pressure situation, Australia are more likely to dig deep and come out on top. However, this South African team is a very good one. It could all come down to two players performing – de Kock (four centuries) continuing his impressive batting form and Adam Zampa (22 wickets) bowling like the tournament’s leading wicket-taker. Both teams have an abundance of talent and match-winners, it’s difficult to predict a winner.

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