Virat Kohli and his men will take on New Zealand in the 2019 World Cup semis at Old Trafford on Tuesday. Thanks to Australia’s narrow 10-run loss against South Africa in the last league game, India managed to top the table and set up a semis clash with New Zealand. In the other semis, Australia will face arch-rivals England on Thursday.
India will be favourites against New Zealand in the semis although their league phase was abandoned due to rain. But New Zealand too will be dangerous although they are coming off three consecutive losses.
An intriguing fact has gone viral ahead of the India vs New Zealand semi-final.
The two captains – Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson – have met before 11 years ago as skippers of their respective teams in 2008 Under-19 World Cup semi-final at Kuala Lumpur on February 27, 2008. And now 11 years later, they are ready to face again in another semis as captain of their national team in 2019 World Cup.
In that semis 11 years ago, a 19-year-old Virat Kohli has led India to a victory against 17-year-old Williamson-led New Zealand. India defeated Kiwis by 3 wickets and stormed into the final and ended up winning the title.
In the Under-19 World Cup semis clash against New Zealand, Kohli dismissed Williamson stumped for 37. And Williamson returned the favour, by taking a catch to dismiss Kohli for 43 off the bowling of George Worker.
Asked about taking Williamson’s wicket in U-19 World Cup semis ahead of the 2019 World Cup semis against New Zealand, Indian skipper Kohli replied that his medium-pace bowling can be lethal at times. Kohli took 2/27 in that match as India restricted Kiwis for 205/8. During the chase, Kohli led from the front and scored a vital 43 and won India the match.
From that XI, only Ravindra Jadeja, apart from Kohli, features in the 2019 World Cup squad. A few players from that XI even went on to represent India but could not find success like Kohli, Jadeja did in international cricket. Saurabh Tiwary, Manish Pandey, Siddarth Kaul were part of that 2008 U-19 World Cup XI against New Zealand.
And from the New Zealand side, apart from Williamson, only Trent Boult and Tim Southee are part of the current 2019 World Cup squad.
But will Kohli be able to repeat his 2008 magic once again and beat New Zealand in another World Cup semis?