Leeds: New Zealand have revealed that they have plans to upset table-toppers India in the first semi-final on Tuesday through their bowling coach Shane Jurgensen.
The Kiwis hope to expose India’s middle order, which they presume is vulnerable. However, with India’s opener Rohit Sharma and Lokesh Rahul having hit centuries in their last group match against Sri Lanka, it is not going to be an easy task for them to reach the middle order.
“We have to get the early wickets. Rohit Sharma has been excellent for them alongside Rahul. If we can get these guys out early and put pressure on the middle order, that will be massive. It will be crucial to get M.S. Dhoni in there early and expose him,” said Jurgensen.
There has been enormous pressure on Dhoni and his role as an unsuccessful finisher so far in this tournament and that has pleased the New Zealand bowling coach. “We are happy to face India. We’ve worked hard to get to the semis but sadly, we didn’t finish pool play the way we wanted to. But these things happen and now we have one game to get it right. If we do that, we’ll be in the final.”
New Zealand are also looking to avenge their series defeat to India through this match. They had played a played a five-game ODI series against India in New Zealand, which India won 4-1. Australia and England will square off in the other semi-final on Thursday in Birmingham.
Meanwhile, when India’s batting coach Sanjay Bangar was asked whether his team’s middle order not getting much batting is a cause of worry, he said: “I don’t think so because whoever has got to bat has done well. Of course, they haven’t got to bat for longer periods of time except in the Afghanistan game. Apart from that, Hardik (Pandya) and Mahi (Dhoni) have played their role and even Rishabh (Pant) has had two good knocks under his belt. So they are in good nick and as long as we are getting the job done, it augurs well for the team.”
Asked about India missing out on playing New Zealand in the round-robin stage since the match got rained off, Bangar noted: “It’s not too long ago that we played a full series against them. We played a full five-game series in New Zealand. so we know exactly what they are capable of and what are their strengths and we will be keeping an eye on that. And when you play in England, we can always expect some games to be affected by rain or weather conditions, so that is not something in our control.”
On his team’s build-up for the semi-final, Bangar was cautious but also pleased that everyone has chipped in by taking wickets and scoring runs. “Everyone has taken responsibility. So its good so far.”