Tactics board: where the first semi-final between India and New Zealand, in Mumbai, can be won and lost
India have lost their last four knockout matches against New Zealand in all formats. New Zealand have been knocked out by (one of) the hosts in the last three ODI World Cups. One of these streaks will be broken at the Wankhede on Wednesday. Here’s how.
Do not lose the game in the first 15 overs
It’s good to just win the toss.
Even before the Wankhede Stadium revealed its true colours, Mumbai’s semi-final against a big-hitting team was one that could be imagined as a banana skin for the dominant Indian side. A six-hit contest was not what India wanted to enter. They didn’t get a big share for the semi-final, but the conditions here emerged as a different kind of challenge for the side that lost the toss.
The average score batting first at Wankhede in this World Cup is 357 for 6 and 188 for 9 when chasing. Those chasing numbers were bolstered by Glenn Maxwell’s once-in-a-lifetime double century on one leg. The reason is that the new ball swings and seams under the lights, and for longer. The average powerplay score went from 52 for 1 in the first innings to 42 for 4 in the second. From there, it generally continued to get better for the batters in the first innings as only Maxwell found a way back in the second.
Now, miraculous, Maxwell-like freakishness cannot be the strategy to go into the game. You have to find a way to limit the target when you lose the toss, and then close to the bat like in Test cricket for the first 15 overs. What we have seen is that it is easier to bat at night but you have to make sure that you don’t lose more than two wickets at night time.
HawkEye data suggests that the swing stops being uncomfortable after about ten overs, but problems with seam movement persist until the 15th. After about 20 overs, though, the batting was easier
So, if India lose the toss, for example, don’t expect Rohit Sharma to play like he did in this World Cup. Expect the same treatment from the New Zealand top order if they happen to be chasing.
Put pressure on Jadeja
New Zealand knocked India out of the 2019 World Cup, but they are up against a superior team in top form this season. India’s bowling attack, now that Mohammed Shami is in place, is drawing comparisons with the best ODI attacks of all time. That is, however, if you are comparing five frontline bowlers with five frontline bowlers.
The opportunity is there in New Zealand. To find a way to get through this terrible attack, they have to defeat a bowler. And the only match in which Ravindra Jadeja lost ten overs and did not take a wicket in this World Cup was against New Zealand. There are three left-hand batters in their top six followed by Mitchell Santner. They will want to do better against Jadeja than last time when he conceded just 48.
India will try to go through the two opening left-hand batters even before introducing Jadeja. At another time, if Hardik Pandya was around, they might have thought of going out of the box and playing R Ashwin, but that seems to be out of the question now.
Don’t let Ravindra bowl
New Zealand have more bowling options than India but only four specialists. A big part of New Zealand’s success was the success of their part-time spinners Glenn Phillips and Rachin Ravindra at a time when the part-time bowlers were decimated by an extra fielder in the circle and two new ones. ball. It’s unbelievable that none of these part-time spinners got a run off a single ball.
New Zealand are likely to test Ravindra more than Phillips as there is no left-handed batsman in the top six for India, but expect India to go after them in an attempt to force New Zealand to go back to their starters. first bowler earlier than they wanted. . This lack of a fifth specialist bowler will also allow India to sit on the seamers if they lose the toss.
Give Santner the respect he deserves
Santner in the last World Cup semi-final against India: 10-2-34-2.
In league matches against India in this World Cup: 10-0-37-1.
He is a high-quality left-arm spinner, who enjoyed a good match-up against India: 15 of his 16 victims in this World Cup were right-hand batters. He also conceded 1.25 per over when bowling to left-handed batters. India did not have any left-handed batters before the No. 7. But, if they win the fifth bowler, they don’t have to try anything extraordinary against Santner. Just avoid giving him wickets.
The threat of Rohit
Rohit’s explosive starts started a chain reaction where Virat Kohli was not even put under any pressure. It’s not that he can’t bat quickly, but if he is not needed, it will be very difficult to get Kohli in the conditions that we get in ODIs.
Of course, New Zealand will want to bowl in the evening and test them both with the moving ball, but they have to prepare for the afternoon. And if India are leading, the best way to put pressure on Kohli is to get Rohit out early. Rohit in this form, however, is killing the new ball and killing powerplay contests itself.
If you look at how New Zealand bowled against Rohit in Dharamsala, you don’t see a single bouncer trying. If Rohit was batting in T20 mode, maybe a shout to bowl in T20 mode wouldn’t be so bad.
The last time T20 was taken seriously for an extended period of time was when the two World Cups were played in 2021 and 2022. At that time, the theory going around the world was to hold the short to Rohit – averaging he averages 14.75 then against the short ball in all T20 cricket, and 14.33 in T20Is. Rohit likes the pull and the hook, and runs with it easily, but it also tends to lead to dismissals.
If New Zealand get Rohit early, they can hope to control the middle overs with left-arm spin against right-handed batters and difficult lengths from the quicks.
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo