India v New Zealand: Kohli and Williamson to meet again in World Cup showdown

By Sports Desk July 08, 2019

Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson will reignite an old rivalry when India and New Zealand face off in the Cricket World Cup semi-finals on Tuesday.

The duo first played against each in 2007, before captaining their respective countries in an Under-19 World Cup semi-final in Malaysia a year later.

Kohli came out on top in that encounter, dismissing Williamson in a three-wicket victory for India.

Kohli and Williamson have since scored 33,840 international runs and 99 centuries between them, and now they go head to head for a place in Sunday's final against Australia or hosts England.

While India have relied mainly on Rohit Sharma - the leading scorer at the World Cup with 647, including five centuries - for their runs, Williamson was in fine form for New Zealand earlier in the tournament and has the best batting average at 96.20.

However, the Black Caps lost their last three group-stage games against Pakistan, Australia and England and only qualified for the final four on net run rate.

With the sides yet to play each other in this tournament due to their June 13 fixture being rained off, New Zealand - beaten finalists in 2015 - may have their work cut out to progress against 2011 champions India, who have won seven matches in the competition and are hot favourites to triumph at Old Trafford.

 

TOURNAMENT SO FAR

A 31-run defeat to England is all that mars a perfect record for India, and with Rohit in devastating form with the bat they would certainly be worthy finalists.

New Zealand looked on course to cruise into the last four after winning five straight games, but they lost their way towards the end of the group stage and were fortunate Pakistan did not click into gear until late on.

 

WHAT THEY SAID

India captain Kohli on his reunion with Williamson: "I'll remind Kane [about 2008], I'm sure he remembers. It is quite a nice thing to realise that 11 years later we are captaining our respective nations again in a senior World Cup from Under-19s."

Black Caps skipper Williamson: "I think for everybody it sort of starts fresh tomorrow after what was a very tough round-robin stage, and we were certainly expecting that it would be tough. It's just a great occasion to be a part of. I know the guys are really excited by the opportunity to go out and try to play with that freedom that when we do gives us the best chance."

 

OPTA FACTS

- There have been seven completed matches between India and New Zealand in World Cup history - the Black Caps have edged it so far with four wins.
- India have recorded six victories in their last seven ODIs against New Zealand.
- New Zealand have reached the semi-final stage of the World Cup for the fourth time in succession, though they are yet to win the competition.

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