by Sudipta Biswas

The semifinal between India and New Zealand will be their first meeting in this World Cup. The league stage clash between these two sides was rained off in Nottingham without a ball being bowled. Now, both teams would hope for a bright sky on Tuesday.

The semifinalists of 2019 World Cup have been confirmed as the round robin league came to end on Saturday. Table topper India will take on New Zealand at the Old Trafford in Manchester in the first semifinal of ICC’s biggest ever cricketing extravaganza. Virat Kohli-led India topped the points table after India handed Sri Lanka seven-wicket defeat in Leeds while Australia suffered 10-run defeat against the Proteas in the second game of the day in Manchester. India’s thumping victory against the Lankans and South Africa’s shocking win over the defending champions helped India grab the pole position.

New Zealand, on the other hand, got off to a superb start to their campaign winning consecutive matches but they didn’t have any answer to the challenge posed by mighty sides Australia, England and Pakistan. Nevertheless, those defeats exposed their weakness- top order and middle order. Kane Williamson has been their only consistent batsman in this edition of World Cup. New Zealand, who lost to the Three Lions in their final league game, edged out Pakistan on the basis better Net Run Rate (NRR) to book their semifinal berth as the fourth team.

 

 

The semifinal between India and New Zealand will be their first meeting in this World Cup. The league stage clash between these two sides was rained off in Nottingham without a ball being bowled. Now, both teams would hope for a bright sky on Tuesday.

Interestingly, this will be the repeat of 2008 U-19 World Cup Kuala Lumpur semifinal between Kohli-led India and Williamson-led New Zealand. Indian colts had pipped New Zealand boys by three wickets in a nail-biting match.

New Zealand batting first were restricted for paltry 205 for 8. Captain Kohli picked up two wickets giving away just 27 runs in seven overs. He was ably supported by Siddarth Kaul and Tanmay Srivastava who also scalped two-wicket each respectively.

With the bat in hand, Kohli scored 43 off 53 balls as India won the match as per D/L method and qualify for the final. In the summit clash, India defeated South Africa to win their second U-19 World Cup title.

On Tuesday, we will once again see semifinalists of 2008 U-19 World Cup- Martin Guptill, Williamson and Tim Southee- contesting for their second consecutive final appearance in cricket’s biggest ever extravaganza. In the Indian camp, Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja are the only two cricketers from that semifinal will be playing against New Zealand on Tuesday.

For Kohli and Williamson, Tuesday’s semifinal is likely to bring back the memories of 2008 U-19 World Cup when the two captains will meet for the toss in the middle of Old Trafford for the semifinal of an ICC event second time in their career.

Though the British met department forecasted light shower on the match day, India fans and cricketers would be hoping for a repeat of the same the outcome that saw New Zealand getting ousted from the tournament in 2008.

It must be noted that New Zealand have never won the U-19 World Cup. Their only appearance in the final happened way back in 1998. In the senior men’s World Cup as well, New Zealand played solitary final breaking the jinx in 2015 when they lost to Australia at Melbourne Cricket Ground.

 


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