The business end of the Cricket World Cup is finally upon us.
Eoin Morgan’s men have achieved the bare minimum that was expected of them, sealing their place in the semi-final with a comfortable win over New Zealand.
India’s win over Sri Lanka snatched top-spot from Australia, who lost to South Africa at Old Trafford. That means that it will be New Zealand who face Kohli’s side in Tuesday’s first semi-final, with England against the Aussies on Thursday.
India v New Zealand
The Indians will be delighted with their tournament so far, especially after usurping Australia. Having lost just once both the batsman and bowlers should be full of confidence after their consistent performances.
With the ball, Jasprit Bumrah has proven himself to be one of the premier fast bowlers in the game, particularly when bowling at the death. He’s produced yorkers on demand in the latter overs and picked up wickets throughout his spells. He has 17 wickets for the World Cup and is going at less than 4.5 runs per over. He’s short at 5/1 to be top-wicket taker in the match but shouldn’t be discounted in this form.
Although many would have expected Virat Kohli to be India’s main-man with the bat, it has been the indomitable Rohit Sharma that has stolen the headlines. The opening batsman has already broken Sachin Tendulkar’s record for most centuries in a single World Cup and is 27 runs away from surpassing his record for most runs scored in a World Cup. He’s proven that he can score runs alongside KL Rahul in Shikhar Dhawan’s absence and India’s opening partnership to surpass 36 is available at around 17/20 at Grosvenorsport.com.
Other than Kane Williamson, New Zealand’s batsmen have struggled to make an impact on the tournament. Martin Guptill is horribly out of form at the top of the order but seems to rise to the big occasion. He was top scorer in the 2015 tournament and I fancy him to defy form and get some runs tomorrow. He’s an outside 10/1 at Grosvenorsport.com to be top run scorer in the match.
If the ball swings at Old Trafford, Trent Boult’s left armers will provide a threat for the Kiwi’s. My pick for a potential New Zealand highest wicket-taker in the match is Lockie Ferguson however. The pace-man has impressed during this tournament and is the third highest wicket taker. If New Zealand hope to get amongst the Indian middle order early, Ferguson could be key and is available at 6/1 to be top wicket-taker.
England v Australia
In another Ashes prelude, England will have to beat the old enemy if they want to reach their first World Cup final since 1992.
Morgan’s men have looked much improved since their earlier defeat against Australia, with consecutive victories against India and New Zealand.
Some concern will remain after being comprehensively beaten by the Aussies at Lord’s earlier in the tournament though . The left-arm swing bowling of Mitchell Starc and Jason Behrendorff caused England lots of trouble down the famous Lord’s slope, taking nine wickets between them. Behrendorff’s height adds an extra factor into the equation and how England play him will be important. Behrendorff is around 7/1 to be top wicket-taker at Grosvenorsport.com.
Despite not being at his brutal best, David Warner’s form has been a boost to Australia. The opener is averaging 79.75 in the tournament and loves nothing more than scoring runs against England. He got 53 against them in the group stages and I wouldn’t be surprised if he went beyond that this time and he’s around 6/1 to be the top run-scorer in the match.
Adil Rashid has had a reasonably quiet tournament for the hosts, but will look to be more involved in the latter stages as the aging wickets come into effect. The leg-spinner has just eight wickets in the tournament so far, but loves the big stage and I think this could be his day. At around 13/2 on Grosvenorsport.com, there could be value in picking him as leading wicket-taker.
All of England’s batsmen have been in the runs at some point during the tournament and should be full of confidence. I particularly fancy Joe Root to knuckle down and play an important innings in this one. He performs his anchoring role to perfection and will thrive off the occasion. I’m backing the Test captain to be leading run-scorer at 6/1.
Truthfully I’m very concerned about Mitchell Starc. He’s been unstoppable during the tournament and is just one wicket away from breaking the record for most in a World Cup. If Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow can survive that opening spell, England have a chance but as we’ve seen in the games they have lost early wickets, a collapse is never that far around the corner. I’m backing the World Cup veterans Australia to make the final at 6/5.
I’m also backing India to beat New Zealand on Tuesday. New Zealand’s over-reliance on Kane Williamson will ultimately be their undoing and will probably fall short if asked to chase 300+. India are available at around 1/3 on Grosvenorsport.com.