India can gain revenge on New Zealand to close in on Cricket World Cup glory
Virat Kohli can steer India to the Cricket World Cup final.
India can put one of their darkest days behind them in the sunshine in Mumbai by beating New Zealand to reach Sunday’s Cricket World Cup final.
Revenge is bound to add motivation to their cause as four years ago they were beaten by the Black Caps in a nailbiting finish at Old Trafford.
Being staged in Manchester, the 2019 semi-final was, of course, delayed by rain and play had to be carried over to a reserve day.
New Zealand made 239 for eight off their 50 overs and although that seemed as though it would be a relatively easy target, India were soon in trouble as they lost their first three wickets with just five runs on the board.
They remained on the ropes as they stumbled to 92 for six but brilliant batting from MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja forced them back into contention and they needed just 37 runs off the last 18 deliveries to gain an improbable and heroic victory.
It wasn’t to be as Jadeja fell for 77 off 59 balls and, with 25 runs needed off 11 deliveries, Dhoni was run out by inches by a direct hit on the stumps from Martin Guptil’s pinpoint throw as he chased a second run to keep the strike.
It was the second successive tournament India had been eliminated at the semi-final stage and now they are back in the last four and hoping to reach the final for the first time since beating Sri Lanka by six wickets in the 2011 final.
That was also on home soil and it was in front of a passionate crowd at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium where they will be seeking victory this time around.
As for New Zealand, they suffered their own 2019 heartache in the memorable Lord’s decider when they were eclipsed by England on the boundary countback rule after the match and a super over failed to split the two teams.
India have won all nine matches in the group stage in this tournament while New Zealand were beaten four times and the hosts are no better than 4/11 with Paddy Power and Sky Bet to reach the final.
Back them instead to lift the trophy at 10/11 across the board and take your pick on Virat Kohli being top India batter in the semi-final at 11/4 with William Hill, top runscorer in the match at 5/1 with Sky Bet and man of the match at 7/1 with the latter firm.
Devon Conway is 7/2 with William Hill to be New Zealand’s top batter.
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• Chris Dobey is 4/5 with William Hill to beat James Wade in Wednesday’s showdown at the Grand Slam of Darts in Wolverhampton.