Mike Hesson, a seasoned cricket expert with a wealth of knowledge about both Indian and New Zealand cricket, anticipates a David versus Goliath scenario in the World Cup semifinal clash between India and New Zealand at Wankhede in Mumbai. While acknowledging India’s unbeaten run and formidable form, Hesson believes that facing India at Wankhede could work in favor of the Kiwis.
The Wankhede ground, according to Hesson, is conducive to New Zealand bowling attack, offering bounce that could prove advantageous. Reflecting on past successes at Wankhede, particularly recalling a 2017 ODI where they chased down a challenging target, Hesson emphasizes the significance of early wickets and Tom Latham’s potential to tackle spin.
Hesson downplays the toss’s impact at Wankhede, suggesting it may not be as decisive as in other venues. He believes New Zealand is well-equipped to bat or bowl first, offering a balanced playing field.
Acknowledging New Zealand underdog status, Hesson emphasizes their impressive record, making it to five consecutive semifinals. He sees the match as a challenging but even battle, with the key being how New Zealand handles India’s formidable new ball attack.
Discussing India’s strengths, Hesson highlights Rohit Sharma’s experience and Virat Kohli’s exceptional form. He sees the battle between New Zealand’s bowling, particularly Trent Boult, and India’s top order as crucial.
Despite India’s favoritism, Hesson points out New Zealand’s historical success against them in World Cups. He suggests that if New Zealand can create self-doubt in the Indian team, it might open up opportunities.
Addressing concerns about Boult’s form, Hesson attributes it to the lack of swinging conditions in some matches but remains optimistic about his performance at Wankhede. He also sees Rachin Ravindra as a surprise asset for New Zealand.
In the face of a potentially hostile Indian crowd, Hesson believes New Zealand can thrive under pressure, leveraging their experience and strong leadership. Overall, he anticipates a closely contested match, underlining New Zealand’s ability to rise to the occasion.