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India eyes final berth against dark horse New Zealand

India eyes final berth against dark horse New Zealand

Manchester, Jul 8 (UNI) After having a dominant performance in the league stage, India will look to beat New Zealand and book a final berth as both teams face each other in the first semi-final of the ongoing World Cup at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

Team India topped the World Cup league stage points table with seven wins from eight games despite being hurt by a couple of injuries. India have suffered just one defeat against England in this World Cup so far.

On the other hand, the 2015 runners-up New Zealand had a mixed campaign so far as they won five matches and lost three matches from eight games.

The group stage encounter between these two teams got washed off due to rain.

For India, Rohit Sharma has been in sublime form while his new opening partner Lokesh Rahul has scored 77 and 111 in his last two innings.

Rohit also became the first batsman to score five centuries in a single World Cup and has scored 647 runs in this ongoing World Cup while India captain Virat Kohli is renowned for performing at the big occasion.

Pandya too has played some crucial knocks in couple of matches. However, the No 4 conundrum is still unsolved and middle-order woes can put India in trouble against New Zealand.

Meanwhile, New Zealand, who only qualified for the semi-finals in fourth place on the basis of net run-rate, have lost their last three games against Pakistan, Australia and England.

For New Zealand, captain Kane Williamson has been in great form and played match-winning hundreds against South Africa and the West Indies scoring 481 runs at this World Cup. A lot can be expected from Ross Taylor (261 runs) as he has been in tremendous form in some matches.

However, rest of the New Zealand batting order have failed to deliver in crunch situations and they have been overdependent on the duo of Williamson and Taylor in this World Cup.

India's bowling has been exceptional in the tournament. Fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah has been the spearhead of a well-balanced bowling attack and the likes of Mohammed Shami, Yuzvendra Chahal , Bhuvaneshwar and Kuldeep have also performed well.

New Zealand too have a dangerous bowling attack. The likes of Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult, Matt Henry, Mitchell Santner can trouble any team on their day.

UNI XC AVK AKC 1613/1656

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