About the Match
The excitement level has cranked up a notch higher with South Africa, Australia and India winning their respective games to seal semi-final berths; co-hosts New Zealand will look to do the same in the upcoming match against West Indies at Wellington on 21st March. With six thumping victories that took them to the top of Pool A, the Kiwis are on a winning roll and will look to demolish the Windies, who made it to the quarter-finals with 3 wins out of six. Set to be a clash between the Kiwi seamers and the hard-hitting Windies’ batsmen, the match will surely be a close encounter that will keep the fans at the edge of their seats.
The Kiwi pace attack has given nightmares to their opposition all through the leagues and they are looking good to outsmart the Windies on Saturday too; Corey Anderson, Trent Boult, Elliott, Southee and McClenaghan have been consistently picking up wickets and bowling economically too. However, they also need to be in control during the slog overs and reign in hard-hitting players like Gayle, Russell and Sammy, who are known for their power shots. While Vettori has performed well taking 4-18 against Afghanistan, he will have an important role to play against West Indies; Southee picked up 7-33 against England while Boult’s 5-27 against Australia helped the team win that crucial game. The bowlers will be required to repeat their performances on Saturday; on the other hand, batsmen like Ross Taylor, Luke Ronchi and Kane Williamson will have to step up and build the innings. Guptill and McCullum are looking good to set a strong foundation and if they can keep the wickets in hand, the team looks sturdy to set a big target or chase one convincingly.
The team heavily depends on Chris Gayle to build a foundation with his powerful fours and sixes but other batsmen like Smith, Samuels, Ramdin and Simmons must share the responsibilities in a big match like the upcoming one. Against India, they were all-out for a meagre 182 runs and the defeat exposed the weaknesses in their batting line-up; however, against Pakistan, they gelled as a team and put up a good 310 runs, winning the match emphatically by 150 runs. The middle order will play a crucial role in steadying the innings whether batting first or in a chase; the bowling unit, which has been picking up wickets regularly must be supported well by the fielders to try and stop the 1’s and 2’s. Taylor and Russell have been consistent andd picked up 3 wickets each against Pakistan, but they must be cautious to keep the line and length tight; Holder picked up 4-27 against UAE and will need to provide the breakthroughs here as well. Overall, the team looks confident to surprise the hosts on Saturday with some fireworks across the park.
Although the Windies have a talented side with a good mix of established batsmen and in-form bowlers, the Kiwis with the home advantage and better consistency in performance look well placed to win the match and seal a semi-final berth.Winner:
New Zealand, 1.30 @ Bet365