Cricket World Cup 2019 semi-finals: the players to watch

Australia v India T20 game one.

The World Gambling List’s cricket expert takes a look at the ICC World Cup semi-finals and pinpoints the players to watch for each team.
After 45 matches it has come down to this: two semi-finals with the winners advancing to the ICC World Cup final at Lord’s on Sunday, July 14.
We look at the players who have already shone for each team and could be the ones to be the leading run-scorers or top wicket-takers in the biggest matches in ODI cricket.

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We also look at the players from the four semi-finalists – Australia, India, England and New Zealand – who have not performed well yet and need to turn their form around in quick time to help their teams claim the ultimate prize in 50-over cricket.


Who is hot

Mitchell Starc: The lanky left-armer had taken an incredible 24 wickets at an average around 15 even before the Aussies’ final group match against South Africa to largely carry the Australian attack and put his team in prime position to claim the title. Starc was similarly dominant as Australia won their fifth title in 2015 and he is the key to Australia’s chances again.
Worth a mention: Jason Behrendorff of the other bowlers has emerged as a threat late in the tournament with a couple of bags, a kind of Starc-lite if you like. With the willow, openers David Warner and Aaron Finch have been outstanding, as has keeper Alex Carey down the order a little.

Who is not

Glenn Maxwell: Heading into the match against New Zealand he had yet to take a wicket and managed just 143 runs at 23. To add injury to insult he was struck in the nets by a Starc delivery right in the forearm and was in some doubt to face South Africa. Still, he is having a better time of it than Shaun Marsh, who made just 26 in two knocks before he was hit by a Pat Cummins delivery in the nets and suffered a broken wrist.

World Gambling List verdict

Don’t rule out Maxwell doing something special with the bat in the semi-final or final. Few batsmen can score as quickly as Maxwell can when he gets going.


Who is hot

Rohit Sharma: The powerful Indian opener has cracked four centuries in just eight innings, even before India’s final group match against Sri Lanka on Saturday! He had made 544 runs at an average north of 90, even after losing regular opening partner Shikhar Dhawan to injury.

Worth a mention: When finally given his cue, right-arm quick Mohammed Shami in just four matches had snared 14 wickets at 13.78! He has been just the boost India have needed with Jasprit Bumrah not as dominant as expected just yet.

Who is not

Kuldeep Yadav: The left-arm leggie has taken only taken five wickets before the match with Sri Lanka but at least he has not conceded too many runs. In fairness, spinner have not been as well suited as the pacemen

World Gambling List verdict

India would love to have Shikhar Dhawan available but even without him they are formidable. We expect Virat Kohli to score at least one century in the last two matches. He is made for the big occasion.


Who is hot

Jonny Bairstow: The tough opener has backed up his words with deeds, cracking centuries in must-win matches for England against India and New Zealand after a couple of golden ducks early in the tournament. His partnership with Jason Roy has been restored and England all of a sudden are back on song. Thank Bairstow for that.

Worth a mention: Ben Stokes has been all class with the bat and has chimed in with the ball at important times. Pacemen Jofra Archer and Mark Wood have led the attack in great style, with their extreme pace well suited to the pitches,

Who is not

Eoin Morgan: The skipper has been OK but if you take out his knock of 148 against Afghanistan he has scored only 169 runs at 24 for the series. Meanwhile, spinners
Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali have failed to ignite their campaigns.

World Gambling List verdict

The home team has returned to form just in time. It will be fascinating to see how they perform if they bat second, as that has been the scenario when they have fall short earlier in the tournament. Watch Joe Root stand up in the big moments.

New Zealand

Who is hot

Kane Williamson: The Kiwi skipper has been head and shoulder above his batting teammates with 481 runs. He has been sublime and the team needs to stand up and take some of the pressure off Williamson.

Worth a mention: All-rounder Jimmy Neesham has been great with bat and ball, making 201 runs at 40 and taking 11 wickets at 18.18. He has a real knack for doing something special at the right time. Pace duo Lockie Ferguson and Trent Boult have been excellent, continuing the theme of speed doing the damage.

Who is not

Martin Guptill: The big opener has made only 166 runs at 23.71, a far cry from the 2015 World Cup where he led all-scorers. Guptill looks out of sorts and needs to quickly turn it around if the Kiwis are to have much chance of posting big totals. His fellow opener Colin Munro has also been sub-par, making 125 at 25. They both need to lift and fast.

World Gambling List verdict

New Zealand have gone off the boil in the latter stages, though a lot of that is down to the draw, with their toughest opponents coming later in the group stages and their match against India being washed out. They can do some damage if the like of Guptill and Ross Taylor rediscover their mojo. Their bowling attack is certainly good enough.

It pays to check leading cricket bookmaker William Hill on the day of the semi-finals to spot any late specials on offer. Your tip for top batsman or leading wicket-taker could be among the enhanced odds offering.

Semi-final 1 preview: India v New Zealand
Semi-final 2 preview: Australia v England

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