So it's Pakistan vs New Zealand in the first semifinal of this World Cup. It should be a cracker of a contest at Adelaide Oval between two teams of contrasting styles and skills.

Pakistan have got some stars, some players with serious talent. For New Zealand, it's the team that is the star.

I think it will come down to fine margins, the team that has a little bit of extra luck and a greater desire to win on the day will succeed.

So where do I think this match will be won or lost?

Well, it's simple. Right at the start, Pakistan have to play well when they come out to bat.

Top-order batting

There will be a huge responsibility on the opening pair of Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan. They have been outstanding for Pakistan cricket in the recent years.

Unfortunately, if you are a Pakistan fan, I can understand your pain because Babar hasn't really found his top gear in Australia.

So maybe it's his turn now. Babar is a seriously good player. He is, in fact, a great player. You can't become a bad player overnight.

So on Wednesday, the whole of Pakistan will be hoping that the best version of their best batsman turns up and gives the team a flying start.

A great start is a must for Pakistan in order to give the likes of Shadab Khan in the middle order a solid platform.


The other crucial part in the game will be fielding. New Zealand are sharp on the field and they have team full of great athletes.

They can stop the rival batsmen from converting the ones into twos.

Can Pakistan do the same? We will have to wait and see because Pakistan are also capable of dropping some easy catches, we have already seen that quite often!

New Zealand definitely have the edge in this department.


Get the yorkers on target

I think Pakistan will also be relying a lot on Shaheen Shah Afridi, who has finally found some form. He was good in the last two games.

His battle with Glenn Phillips, who has been prolific for New Zealand, will be intriguing. Who will get the better of it?

Phillips is a quality player, but Afridi can be dangerous if he gets those yorkers on target.

The yorker will be the most powerful weapon for Shaheen and the other Pakistani pacers. But they need to get the straight yorkers, it's very difficult to deal with that if you are a batsman.

The other day, Zimbabwe tried to bowl those yorkers and got them wrong against Suryakumar Yadav who just hit them out of the park.

So you have to be spot on with your yorkers.

In the New Zealand camp, it's Trent Boult who can bowl those yorkers well. He is a fantastic bowler and the Kiwi trump card in bowling.

Battle of captains

And there is another vital element — captaincy. Who can keep his head calm in the middle of an intense semifinal of a World Cup?

Kane Williamson is hugely experienced in this department. He knows his team well and he knows how to get the best out of his players.

As for Babar, he has certainly got the team behind him. Each and every player backs him and that's great to see. They respect him a lot because he is such a great player.

The fresh wicket

And finally, don't forget this match will be played on a fresh wicket in Sydney.

Once the shine goes off, it will be easy for the batters, the ball really comes nicely onto the bat and conditions are ideal for batting.

Let's see which set of shot-makers makes the most of the beautiful batting conditions.


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