World Cup 2023: In a clash of titans, India vs New Zealand (IND vs NZ) are set to face off in the first semi-final of the World Cup 2023 in Mumbai on Wednesday, and the spotlight is firmly on key players from both teams. While most players have shone in this tournament, a few have particularly stood out, forming the backbone of their respective squads.
For India, Virat Kohli‘s stellar performances have elevated him to a ‘King‘ status within the team. Ravindra Jadeja, known for his dynamic all-round game, has earned the moniker of a ‘rockstar.’ On the Kiwi side, the calm and collected ‘Captain Cool,’ Kane Williamson, continues to win hearts with his strategic decisions.
The pace battery for New Zealand boasts the lethal combination of Trent Boult, a ‘trump card’ with his wicket-taking prowess, and Tim Southee, the backbone of the team for over a decade with his all-round contributions.
Surprisingly, what binds these five outstanding players together is their shared history in the Under-19 World Cup held in Malaysia back in February and March 2008. India emerged victorious in the tournament, defeating South Africa in the final, while New Zealand reached the semi-finals.
Interestingly, the semi-final clash in that tournament was between India and New Zealand, with Virat Kohli playing a pivotal role in India’s victory. Kane Williamson, now the senior team captain, led the New Zealand side, while Tim Southee and Trent Boult showcased their skills in the bowling department.
Social media is buzzing with discussions about this shared past, where these players transitioned from the junior team to becoming stalwarts in the senior setup through hard work and dedication.
Reflecting on the 2008 semi-final, Virat Kohli was named the ‘Man of the Match,’ scoring 43 runs and taking two crucial wickets, including that of Kane Williamson. Kohli’s memorable performance also saw him getting Fraser Colson bowled.
In contrast, Ravindra Jadeja had a quieter game, securing only one wicket and contributing one run. Tim Southee, however, emerged as a key player for New Zealand, claiming four wickets, while Trent Boult dismissed one player.
As the anticipation builds for the upcoming semi-final, fans are eager to witness how these seasoned players, now pillars of their respective teams, will perform on the grand stage, bringing their decade-long journey from U-19 rivals to senior stars full circle.