Following New Zealand’s resounding victory over Sri Lanka in Bengaluru, the potential semi-final line-up for the 2023 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup is starting to take shape. Although Pakistan and Afghanistan still have a mathematical chance of surpassing the Black Caps, the odds are heavily stacked against them.
It seems increasingly likely that we will see a reprise of the 2019 World Cup semi-final, with India set to face New Zealand at the Wankhede on November 15.
Boult’s Enthusiasm for the Potential Showdown
“From our perspective, playing the World Cup in India and potentially facing the host nation, a team that’s in top form, at a fantastic venue – it’s an ideal scenario,” expressed Boult in the post-match press conference. “We’re eager for this to happen, confident that we’ve done everything we can, and now we wait and see.”
Chances for Pakistan and Afghanistan
As it stands, Pakistan would need to secure a win by 287 runs or win in three overs after bowling England out for 100 to surpass New Zealand in the semi-finals. Afghanistan’s prospects are even less likely. This puts New Zealand in a strong position to advance to the semi-final, where they would likely face India.
Recalling the Earlier Encounter
When the teams clashed earlier in the tournament in Dharamsala, India emerged victorious by four wickets, chasing 274. New Zealand’s total of 273 is the highest score against India in this tournament. The conditions in Mumbai are predicted to be more conducive to batting than in Dharamsala, but Boult is not getting ahead of himself.
“It’s difficult to predict the conditions at Wankhede, but history suggests it’s a good wicket. We’re looking forward to the challenge. They’re exceptional players, but pressure can affect even the best at times. We’re excited to take that on,” he said.
India’s Aggressive Batting and the Opportunities it Presents
Discussing India’s aggressive batting strategy, Boult noted that it also offers opportunities for the bowling side. However, he reiterated the excitement of potentially facing the hosts in a semi-final.
“Their positive style of cricket does present chances. We’ll have a clear strategy for that game, if it happens. The prospect of that challenge is thrilling. It doesn’t get any bigger than facing India in front of 1.5 billion people,” he concluded.