High on confidence, having topped the ICC Cricket World Cup league table, India start as favourites as they take on New Zealand today in their semifinal clash. India’s campaign has been marred by freak injuries to key players. Opener Shikhar Dhawan suffered a broken thumb, and seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar had a hamstring injury. However, K.L. Rahul and Mohammad Shami filled in with sterling performances with the bat and ball, respectively. Rahul crafted a masterful century to make light work of Sri Lanka in Leeds, while Shami has picked up 14 scalps in his four outings so far, including a sensational hat-trick against a feisty Afghanistan.

The Old Trafford pitch is a batsman’s delight, and India’s “hitman" Rohit Sharma has had a dream run, having already struck five centuries. Virat Kohli, who has also been in fine fettle, would expect the top order to deliver again. The middle-order, though, remains untested. Ravindra Jadeja, a left-arm spinner who can swing a bat too, could offer balance. The Kiwis have been brilliant in patches, but India have a better record at World Cup semifinals. Yet, Kohli’s choice of players could determine the outcome.

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